Space Report Features
Averaging a liftoff every 33 hours and 49 minutes, January’s 22 successful launches to space marked the busiest start to a year since the Space Age dawned in 1957, and put the globe on track for 259 launches in 2024, which would easily eclipse records set in 2023, according to a Space Foundation database. If the pace holds, this year could shatter 2023’s record of one launch every 39 hours, which sped past a record set in 2022 with a launch every 47 hours. Since 1957, January launches have proven to be a key predictor for annual launch numbers, with annual launch figures meeting or exceeding the January pace 93% of the time.
A Sunday launch that placed three Iranian satellites into orbit could signal the Islamic Republic’s ability to use its launch vehicles to deliver warheads to distant targets, warned retired Air Force Gen. Lance Lord, a former leader of Pentagon space efforts. Announced by Iran’s state news agency IRNA, the Sunday launch was the nation’s second successful space mission in the past month and the first to deliver multiple satellites. The three satellites, Mahda, Keyhan-2, and Hatef-1, were described by Iran as research satellites designed to test a variety of technologies including communications.
Rotor damage suffered during a routine Jan. 18 flight grounded the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars, after three years exceeding expectations and setting milestones for powered flight on another planet alongside the Perseverance rover, ending the aircraft’s remarkable mission, NASA announced Thursday.
The majority of SNET SPACE’s underperformance was driven by a steep decline of 12.4% in Q3, compared with declines of just over 3% for the other two indexes. In Q4, even though SNET SPACE gained 11.5% and slightly outperformed the SNET Global 2500, this was only sufficient to bring SPACE close to breaking even for the year.
The space industry is a global one, and the composition of the S-Network Space Index reflects this diversity. Companies listed on U.S. exchanges tend to dominate due to the larger number of companies that meet the financial requirements for inclusion in the index.
Japan’s space spending spans seven ministries and totaled ¥612 billion (UD$4.3 billion) in 2023. This budget has grown 68% since 2020 as the nation expands its civil and military space programs. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) — which houses JAXA — typically receives the majority of space-related funding.
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