According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the American space economy is a $211.6 billion industry that’s grown over 17% between 2012 and 2021. When adjusted for inflation, the space economy grew 11.4% over that period.
Four main industries drive the space economy.
In 2021, manufacturing overtook information as the largest sector of the American space economy, bringing in $55.8 billion to information’s $54.8.
NASA aims to “develop a human spaceflight economy enabled by a commercial market.” To accomplish this, NASA has funded agreements with private companies to develop commercial-owned and operated low-earth orbit destinations. It has also opened the International Space Station for private astronaut missions for tourism, outreach, commercial research, and other commercial activities.
The Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration notes that many economic operations once dominated by the government now happen in the commercial sector due to government encouragement. ITA estimates that of the more than 1,300 US satellites currently in operation, 70% are for commercial use. The Government Accountability Office estimates that an additional 58,000 satellites, many commercial, could be launched by 2030.
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