The Space Foundation says the worldwide “space economy” grew to $304.31 billion in commercial revenue and government budgets last year, a 6.7% increase from 2011’s total of $285.33 billion.
Commercial activity — e.g., products, services and commercial infrastructure — drove much of the increase, says the group, which is about to host its annual National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.
From 2007 through 2012, the total grew 37%. Commercial products and services revenue increased 6.5% since 2011, and infrastructure and support industries increased by 11%. Government spending grew 1.3% year-over-year, although changes varied significantly, with India, Russia and Brazil increasing their budgets more than 20% while others, including several countries in Europe, dropped at least 25%.
According to the Foundation, 78 launch attempts took place in 2012, down 7.1% from 84 launches the year before, but higher than the 2010 total of 74. Russia led with 24 launches, China had 19 and the U.S. tallied 13 — also making it the second year that the Chinese launch rate was greater than America’s. Still, the U.S. led in terms of launch vehicle “diversity,” with 10 types of orbital rockets launched in 2012.