2001


Launch Attempts and Deployed Payloads, 1983-2022

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.

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Orbital Launch Attempts, 1957-2023

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.

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Active Launch Vehicle Operators by Type, 2000-2022

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.

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Launch Attempts by Top Operators, 2000-2022

Two of the top three launch operators — CNSA and SpaceX — have contributed to overall launch activity growth by exponentially increasing their pace, while the third — Roscosmos — decreased its annual launches by 42% from 2000 to 2022.

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Science and Engineering Degrees, in Thousands, 2000-2016

“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.

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Lunar Missions by Result, 1959-2022

Eight nations have launched lunar missions, but only three have landed on the Moon. In 2022, four missions were partially or fully successful, a tempo last seen in 1969 — the year the first humans stepped foot on the lunar surface.

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