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.
Two items stand out as primary examples of astronomers’ concerns: the SpaceX Starlink constellation due to its number of satellites and AST SpaceMobile’s BlueWalker 3 satellite due to its size — 693 square feet6 — which ranks as the largest commercial communications array in space.
The frenetic pace of launch in 2023 also brought a higher number of launch failures, with 11 rockets failing to make orbit, of them in spectacular fashion.
The United States launched 11 military missions in the year, including payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office and a new generation of small communications satellites for the Space Development Agency. Russia launched 10 civil government missions in 2023, including Soyuz launches to send crews to the International Space Station, which remains one area of cooperation between the Kremlin and NASA. India made headlines with its successful launch of a lunar probe while the European Space Agency, awaiting its new Ariane-6 launch vehicle, launched three spacecraft including its Euclid space observatory.
The record number of launches came despite delays that pushed the debuts of several long-anticipated launch vehicles into 2024. It was the third consecutive year to shatter launch records, despite a decline in European and Russian launches.
The number of U.S. launch at- tempts climbed from 87 in 2022 to 116 last year. The number of U.S. launches has more than doubled since 2021, which saw 51 launch attempts.
But every technological leap in clock accuracy can’t overcome the wobbly planet’s ability to throw off timing standards. Using leap seconds, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures has changed clocks to match the astronomical time on Earth 27 times.
The number of satellites in all three mission segments grew by double digits in 2023, with civil government payloads growing most rapidly (74% year-over-year). Over the past four years, the size of all mission segments has more than doubled. Commercial payloads once again made up the largest proportion of deployments in 2023 thanks to mega-constellations such as Starlink.