Commercial spacecraft manufacturing revenue was estimated to be $4.3 billion in 2021, an increase of 6% over the estimated $4 billion in revenue in 2020. The growth from 2020 to 2021 reflects the increase in the number of payloads launched, while also recognizing efficiencies and cost-savings achieved by companies utilizing small satellite technology and mass manufacturing techniques.
There were 145 launch attempts in 2021, 135 of which were fully or partially successful. This is an increase of 27% from 2020, when 114 launch attempts took place. Commercial launches —those carried out for a non-government customer — accounted for 55 attempts, 49 of which were successful.
Civil government spending in the U.S. increased 3%. The Department of the Interior’s space budget was held flat in 2021, while the Department of Commerce and the National Science Foundation only increased spending by 1% and 0.3%, respectively. The Department of Transportation, which has the smallest share of U.S. civil space spending, had its budget slashed by 21% in 2021.
Space spending for the five Latin American countries included in Space Foundation analysis grew 23% to $121 million. Out of the five nations, two saw large budget increases while the other three reduced spending in their respective currencies.
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.
For this year’s analysis, Space Foundation incorporated historical data and 2022 government spending to project the global space economy’s growth over the next five years. Using our methodology, we predict that the total could reach $639 billion by 2026. Our modeling takes a more conservative approach based on average growth of established sectors and does not factor in developing sectors such as lunar habitation or still exploratory concepts such as asteroid mining.
Commercial revenues continued to make up a majority – 77% – of the space economy. This proportion has declined from a previous five-year average of 79%. Commercial infrastructure and support industries remained the smaller of the two subcategories but widened its share of commercial revenues from 35% in 2019 to 38% in 2021.
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.
Estimates of the size of the U.S. space workforce are based on statistics made available in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. This program covers 95% of U.S. jobs and provides a consistent and reliable source of information to compare changes in the workforce over time.