Oct 26, 2021 - Science

Space industry continues its growth in 2021

Illustration of a hundred dollar bill with Ben Franklin wearing an astronaut helmet.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The space industry continued to grow in the third quarter of 2021, according to a new report from the Space Foundation.

Why it matters: The investments will fuel the future of the space industry, which Bank of America says could reach $1.4 trillion by 2030.

Driving the news: The new report shows investment in the space industry during the third quarter far outpaced the numbers seen in the third quarter of 2020.

  • There was $9.8 billion in investment activity in Q3 of 2021, more than $3 billion more than what was invested during the same time period last year.
  • The new data also shows space industry jobs have bounced back after losses last year.

Between the lines: According to the Space Foundation's Lesley Conn, the new report suggests investors are starting to understand the industry and get onboard with what it takes to be part of it.

  • "We're seeing that people I think are beginning to understand the complexity of space, and the level of commitment that it takes in order to invest," Conn told me.
  • Space companies tend to require a huge upfront investment to get off the ground and operational. It takes a lot of money and trust to build a constellation of satellites without necessarily seeing a ton of return immediately.

The big picture: It's already been a big year for space.

  • The U.S. is projecting a record-setting number of private rocket launches for 2021 while multiple companies send people on suborbital and orbital trips to space.

Yes, but: Not all nations are seeing major gains in their space industries.

  • Satellite manufacturing is on the upswing in the U.S. and China, but the industries in Japan, Russia and Europe have seen declines since 2018, the report says.

Go deeper: Learn more about the space industry with our short course on space.

Go deeper