Jan 26, 2021 - Science

Investment in the space industry overcame the pandemic's headwinds in 2020

A SpaceX launch in 2020.

A SpaceX launch in 2020. Photo: SpaceX

Investment in the space industry continued to grow in the last quarter of 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from Space Capital.

Why it matters: The space industry turned out to be far more robust in the face of the pandemic than many experts were initially expecting.

What they found: According to the report, the fourth quarter of 2020 saw $5.7 billion in investment, bringing the year's total up to $25.6 billion.

  • Venture capital firms invested $15.7 billion into more than 250 space companies last year, according to the report.
  • One of the more surprising findings was that the infrastructure segment of the industry — which includes rocket manufacturers like SpaceX and Relativity Space — had a record year for investment, at $8.9 billion.
  • That record shows this part of the industry bounced back from a major slowdown in the second quarter of 2020 due to the pandemic.
  • Multiple space companies announced their intentions to go public last year. "We expect that there will be at least a few more publicly listed space companies to add to the ETF in 2021," Space Capital's Chad Anderson told me via email.

What's next: The report urges space watchers to keep an eye on the growing competition between Amazon and Microsoft, which are both courting space companies to use their web and cloud services.

  • These companies are effectively making analysis tools less complex to use, allowing companies to work with their data more quickly and easily, potentially opening up avenues for new customers to get in on the action.
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