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.
There were 186 launch attempts in 2022, up 28% from 145 attempts in 2021. Of these launches, 179 were successful. Commercial launches, defined as launches carried out for a non-government customer, accounted for 81 of the attempts and 79 of the successes in 2022. This is a significant increase from the 55 commercial launch attempts in 2021.1 The total market value of launches in 2022 was $13.2 billion, based on analysis by Eurospace, the trade association of the European Space Industry.
Based on global economic factors, Space Foundation forecasts that growth will slow slightly in 2023 to 6% before picking up for an average five-year growth of 7%. Under these conditions, the space economy would total $772 billion in 2027. This forecast incorporates existing markets in the space economy and does not predict any future disruptive technologies that could have extraordinary growth over the coming years.
Governments are continuing to grow their space programs at a rapid pace in 2023, preliminary data for 36 nations show. The proportion of nations that increased spending in 2023 reached 81% compared to 68% last year and 52% five years ago.
As 2021 ended, Russia launched a ground-based anti-satellite missile, spreading debris in space and foreshadowing a difficult year ahead, which would see global defense spending reach unprecedented levels while Europe grappled with the most serious conflict seen there since the guns went silent in 1945.
In 2022, more than 201,009 individuals worked in key sectors of the U.S. space economy, an increase of approximately 1% from 2021. Understanding trends in private sector and government space employment can provide insight into the health and future direction of the U.S. space industry.
In 2022, NASA was named the best place to work in the federal government among large agencies for the 10th year in a row. NASA attributed this “decade of excellence” to the agency’s continuing dedication to supporting and strengthening its workforce.
Employment at U.S. private sector space companies grew nearly 2% from 2021 to 2022, reaching 155,973 people in five employment classifications, based on preliminary estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This continues a consistent pattern of growth since 2016.
The private space sector has grown more than 18% over the past five years and proved to be resilient to the negative effects on total U.S. employment associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021,NASA generated more than $71 billion in economic output, supported more than 330,000 jobs, and delivered significant tax revenue for federal, state, and local governments, the agency’s latest Economic Impact Report shows.