In a first-of-its-kind shift in stated strategy, the Biden Administration pledged, in a document that outlines Pentagon plans, to protect growing American commercial interests in space while advancing military space capabilities and international cooperation in orbit. Military space has returned to the spotlight in recent years after a slump that accompanied the end of the Cold War.
A flurry of military and intelligence satellite launches by rival powers this month came as the United States and two dozen partner nations wrapped up the largest global space defense wargame in history.
Russia launched what some leaders have described as a spy satellite for Iran and its own on-orbit snooping satellite Cosmos-2558, which is circling Earth in an orbit conspicuously close to a recently launched U.S. National Reconnaissance Office satellite, a Netherlands researcher confirmed.
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.
The first six months of 2022 saw a record pace of space launches, matching the mark of 75 set in the first half of 1967. And through June 30, the year saw a record pace for successful launches, topping the mark of 70 set in 1984.
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.
After a decades-long hibernation, nuclear fission power has come back into fashion for NASA and other agencies as a way to deliver power to remote locations and drive spacecraft at speeds other fuels cannot deliver.
Russia’s use of hypersonic weapons in Ukraine is the latest escalation in a growing arms race for missiles that can travel through the atmosphere at more than Mach 5. The U.S. and its allies are accelerating spending on hypersonic weapons development, but haven’t fielded one to date, prompting leaders to fear a missile gap. . .
The Space economy hit $447 billion in 2021 and the pace of growth was expected to accelerate in 2022.
While increased congestion and debris from a Russian anti-satellite weapons test roiled insurance markets for some spacecraft in low Earth orbit, increases in launch reliability and a booming marketplace with historic numbers of satellites . . .