Operating in the space sector involves risks. Space launch is complex and launch failures are possible, even for well-established vehicles. New vehicles typically carry even greater risk. Once spacecraft successfully reach orbit, issues may arise due to factors such as space weather, space debris and a crowded orbital environment. To deal with these risks, many companies in the space sector invest in space insurance. As of 2023, there were about 25 direct space insurance companies worldwide.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
In 2021, despite high-profile insurance claims on numerous satellites. . . Net premiums totaled $537 million, and incurred losses were $362 million.
From Jan. 1 to June 30, the first six months of 2022 saw 75 orbital launch attempts worldwide with 72 successful launches. The launch number was matched only in 1967 and the number of successes broke records.
European space industry workforce by sector; launchers, spacecraft, and ground for 2003 through 2020.
Space insurance claims in 2021 fell to one of the lowest levels in the past two decades.
From the days of Sputnik to SpaceX, this chart tracks launch attempts and successful launches.