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Earth from space. Photo: NASA

2019 was a record year for investment in the space industry, according to a report from the investment firm Space Angels.

Why it matters: The report paints a picture of an industry that's coming of age, with total investment in 2019 reaching $5.8 billion, up 73% from 2018 and exceeding 2017's record-setting year that saw $5.1 billion of investment.

  • "This record year is a reflection of a decade-long shift in the industry, with younger companies taking on more responsibility and driving innovation in a market long dominated by government contractors," Space Angels CEO Chad Anderson told Axios via email.

Details: According to Space Angels, 535 space companies have received a total of $25.7 billion since 2009. While U.S. companies have led in investment, Chinese companies accounted for about 34% of investment in the last quarter of 2019.

  • Most funding went to high-profile companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin and OneWeb, but smaller companies — perhaps bolstered by investor confidence in those industry giants — also received millions last year.
  • The heavy launch business — which includes Blue Origin and SpaceX — drew the most investment in 2019.
  • Some of the largest funding rounds raised for the year included $140 million for Relatively Space's 3D printed rocket system, $120 million for Virgin Galactic and about $140.5 million for China-based Qianxun Spatial Intelligence.

What's next: Some warn that a shakeout could be coming to the space industry after years of growth, but Anderson doesn't see it that way, pointing to the tech industry's demand for data and applications based on it.

  • "Instead of a shakeout, I think 2020 will see IPOs from several pure-play space companies created in the past decade," Anderson said.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.