Operators deployed ~421 spacecraft with a mass of 200 kg or less, 18% of all deployed spacecraft in 2022. SpaceX’s Starlink satellites comprised over half the spacecraft mass deployed in 2022. The company’s Starlink deployments added up to 518,523 kg, nearly double the 257,140 kg it deployed in 2021. The largest spacecraft deployed during 2022 was Lockheed Martin’s Orion space capsule (25,848 kg), deployed during NASA’s first Artemis/Space Launch System launch.
While the U.S. typically leads commercial satellite launches, China almost doubled its private missions in 2022—commercial payloads were 27% of the nation’s launches compared to 16% in 2021. Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co. launched five batches of high-resolution imagery satellites for its Jilin-1 constellation and has deployed approximately half of its planned 138 satellites.
For the second consecutive year, space launches set all-time records as operators sent a historic number of 179 successful missions into orbit in 2022. With 41 more attempts than 2021, the year also set a new record for the sheer volume increase of launches year over year.
Space launch activity continued to grow rapidly in 2022, reaching a new high of 186 orbital launch attempts. Last year was filled with successes and had three fewer failures than 2021, even with 41 more attempts.
The U.S. space sector is composed of more than 198,500 individuals across private sector and government organizations. Private sector space employment continued a trend of growth that began in 2016, adding approximately 3,000 new workers from 2020 to 2021 to reach 151,797 individuals. Space manufacturing led this growth, offsetting a slight decrease in the size of the satellite telecommunications workforce.
India’s Department of Space had 16,786 employees as of October 2021, a decrease of 1.8% from the previous year. India’s Department of Space had 16,786 employees as of October 2021, a decrease of 1.8% from the previous year. About 75% of the workforce is composed of science and technology workers, while the remainder focus on administration.
The space industry relies on skilled individuals from a wide variety of fields to enable the cutting-edge developments taking place in this sector. While many countries do not regularly produce metrics on the size of their workforce, these data are available for several major space actors, including the United States, Europe, Japan, and India.
Of the 55 commercial launches attempted in 2021, 31 occurred in the United States. Of these, 23 were carried out by SpaceX, all of which were successful. China and Russia each conducted nine commercial launches in 2021. All six Russian launches were conducted on the Soyuz launch vehicle, and all were successful.
Total government space spending in 2021 reached $107 billion, a 19% increase from 2020, based on Space Foundation analysis. Space Foundation examined government space spending of 46 nations, including 14 nations new to the analysis this year.
Commercial space activity refers to efforts undertaken by private industry with little or no government investment. Commercial space revenue in 2021 totaled $362 billion.