Public astronauts typically complete multiple missions in space over their careers — 65% have two or more flights compared to only 9% of private space travelers. Retired NASA astronaut Frederick “CJ” Sturckow remains the only person to have visited space eight times.
Japan is continuing its efforts to promote the growth of new entrepreneurial space efforts. Proposed legislation in Japan would allow JAXA to create a fund to invest in private-sector businesses.
Japan saw growth across all three of these sectors in the past year, with the largest growth, 12.8%, in software.
The United States, Europe, and Japan have all seen net growth in their space workforce over the past decade, with steady increases in Europe, and more varied trends in the United States and Japan.
Trends in the size and composition of the global space workforce provide a lens into the health and trajectory of the industry. While many countries do not collect or release data on their space workforce, several major space actors, including the United States, Europe, Japan, and India, publish this information annually.
From the early days of the space race, sending humans to space has always been a key priority. The International Space Station (ISS) has maintained a continuous human presence in orbit for more than 20 years, and microgravity research on space stations has provided valuable insight for future long-term human missions in space.
Orbital launch attempts have more than tripled since a lull in activity in the early 2000s bottomed out at 55 attempts in 2004. Part of the rapid growth in the past few years is due to a sharp increase in launch vehicle operators after a long period with an average just shy of 10 distinct operators per year.
As the pace of small satellite development and global launches continues to accelerate, nations around the world are developing spaceport policies and courting launch providers and other space industries with the intent of expanding their access space.
“Space education, research, and workforce development in the public and private sectors are core components of the U.S. national interest, with the potential to drive exploration and scientific discovery, to find new solutions for pressing challenges, including climate change, to strengthen American national security, and to provide good-paying jobs for Americans,” the roadmap document states.
Civil space activities in Japan are coordinated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which is funded primarily through the Ministry for Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT).