The Space Report 2023, Quarter 4: E-magazine
Get All the Data Behind the 2023 Launch and Payload Analysis
Orbital launches in 2023 surpassed 2022’s record by mid-November, continuing the space industry’s rapid launch and payload growth over the past few years. The Space Report Q4 explores the record number of launches in 2023, national launch trends, and the continued growth of commercial operators and the proliferation of satellites deployed to low Earth orbit. This analysis also dives into the purposes of the thousands of satellites launched in 2023, the orbits they were placed into, and the total mass brought to space last year.
The 2024 Launch Vehicle Report
Two American firms don’t want to end 2023 with a bang. SpaceX is hoping to reach space in late 2023 after a failed launch attempt for its Starship Super Heavy, which can haul up to 100 tons to orbit. On Christmas Eve, United Launch Alliance plans to overcome years of delays and launch its long-promised Vulcan launch vehicle, which is slated to replace the firm’s entire product line of expendable rockets developed during the Cold War. Other planned maiden flights in 2024 include the launch of Blue Origin’s New Glenn, and the Ravn-X, a jet-propelled drone, and rocket combinations designed to loft small satellites to orbit.
National Geospatial Intelligence Transitions To Machine Learning, New Partnerships
At the secretive National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Navy Vice Adm. Frank Whitworth wants to demystify what his troops and civilian employees accomplish every day with a new motto: “Know the world, show the way from seabed to space.” Whitworth, who took the helm in 2022, is the eighth leader of the nation’s youngest intelligence agency and is pushing initiatives including using machine learning to scour data from commercial and military satellites and building partnerships with industry and allied powers. He leads the world’s best mapmakers, who use intelligence on the ground and imagery from orbit to help leaders understand the world.
It May Be Time to Reset the World’s Atomic Clocks
As another new year dawns, physicists across the globe remain locked in a decades-long argument with big impacts for the space industry: What time is it? Since 1972, the world has carefully measured time with atomic clocks, translating the decay of cesium atoms into a precise measurement of Coordinated Universal Time, a global standard. But those atomic clocks are carefully measuring time for a wobbly planet, pushed and pulled by its neighbors in the solar system to the point that no single day actually contains 24 hours. Now, the International Telecommunications Union, which sets the time standard, is focused on finding a resolution. But reaching a final deal on how time is measured requires agreement by nations large and small, including rival superpowers Russia, China and the United States.
The Space Report 2023, Quarter 4: e-magazine