United States


November Space Council Meetings Could Shape Commercial Regulations

The National Space Council asked for comment on new commercial space systems and how the commercial space sector could be regulated during a pair of online meetings set for November. The council wants input from industry and the public. The move is part of a Biden Administration push to deal with issues including crowded orbits and the safety of space tourists.

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U.S. Defense Strategy Document Pledges Commercial Space Protection

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.

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Space Workforce Trends in the United States, Europe, Japan, and India, 2011-2021

Space Workforce Trends in the United States, Europe, Japan, and India, 2011-2021Space Workforce Trends in the United States, Europe, Japan, and India, 2011-2021

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.

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European Space Industry Employment, 2011-2021

European Space Industry Employment, 2011-2021European Space Industry Employment, 2011-2021

European space employment was 53,051 in 2021, an increase of 5.4% from the total of 50,317 from 2020. This estimate is based on analysis by Eurospace, the trade association of the European Space Industry. The analysis focuses on the space manufacturing industry; space services companies such as Ariane- space, SES, Eutelsat, and Inmarsat which also employ thousands of individuals, are not included.

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Change in U.S. Private Employment, Aug. 2021-Aug. 2022

Unlike the BLS data, ADP’s employment data for July grew at a sluggish rate of 0.2%, and both BLS and ADP data for August jobs grew much less than the rest of the year. The BLS’s 0.2% growth was its lowest since April 2021. ADP’s 0.1% growth was the lowest since January 2021, when it measured a 0.1% decrease in employment.

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Latest Employment Data Hints at Space Workforce Hiring Slowdown

Astrobotic employees run the software for a CubeRover ground test in NASA’s lunar regolith pit at the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations Laboratory on June 30, 2022. Software developers are one of the most sought-after occupations in the space industry, and the field has a strong employment outlook over the next decade.Astrobotic employees run the software for a CubeRover ground test in NASA’s lunar regolith pit at the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations Laboratory on June 30, 2022. Software developers are one of the most sought-after occupations in the space industry, and the field has a strong employment outlook over the next decade.

Space-related employment has been growing steadily over the past two years, but the declining financial market could finally be slowing the industry’s growth. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment data and space job boards both hint at reduced hiring over the past few months. However, the latest BLS employment outlook shows that many space jobs have a higher-than-average growth projected over the next decade.

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Budget Gridlock Delays Spending on New U.S. Space Programs

Among programs that could face budget-driven delays are NASA’s proposed robotic rovers to explore for lunar water.Among programs that could face budget-driven delays are NASA’s proposed robotic rovers to explore for lunar water.

Congressional gridlock delayed a 2023 spending plan for U.S. government space programs, which have made up about 12 percent of the global space economy in recent years. The delay stalled budget increases for NASA and the Pentagon topping $6 billion, but a stopgap measure keeps agencies operating at 2022 spending levels.

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