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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.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Podcasts

When investing goes viral

You've likely heard the headlines this week about the stock market mania around GameStop. But this isn't just about the stock market. It's a kind of populist uprising borne of the Internet.

  • Plus, what’s behind GM’s big electric vehicle announcement.
  • And, the new Wild West is in outer space.
18 mins ago - World

Putin is challenging Ukraine's "right to exist," Blinken says

Blinken (L) speaks in Berlin on Thursday. Photo: Kay Nietfeld - Pool/Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken put the stakes of a Russian invasion of Ukraine in stark terms on Thursday, saying Vladimir Putin's threat is a direct challenge to Ukraine's "right to exist" as an independent country and a democracy.

What he's saying: “There’s been a lot of speculation about President Putin’s true intentions, but we don’t actually have to guess. He’s told us, repeatedly. He’s laying the groundwork for an invasion because he doesn’t believe Ukraine is a sovereign nation," Blinken said during a speech in Berlin.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Jared Kushner wants to Trump-proof his private equity future

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Jared Kushner appears to have convinced the private equity market that he'll stick with his new firm, called Affinity Partners, even if his father-in-law returns to the White House.

The big picture: Private equity is littered with former presidential advisers and cabinet officials, and Trump's is proving to be no different.