COLORADO SPRINGS — Data from nations around the planet showed an increase in spending for the space economy, which include infrastructure and support for commercial space enterprises.

Space Foundation, a nonprofit, released the “The Space Report 2022 Q2.” The compiled data from nations around the world found a $469 billion space industry, an increase of 9% from 2020.

Most of the money generated by the space industry came from the commercial sector, which saw a 6.4% increase in revenues. Part of the increase comes from an increase in government spending on military and civil space programs, including increases from the United States, China and India.

A record of successful launches occurred from Jan. 1 to June 30 with 72 rockets sending 1,022 identified spacecraft into space. Most of those new satellites came from the commercial sector, which launched 958 spacecraft. Those are more spacecrafts attaining orbit in six months than were launched in the first 52 years of the Space Age.

“The booming space industry will need to expand its workforce to sustain this kind of growth,” said Space Foundation CEO Tom Zelibor. “That means delivering the message to everyone, from kindergarten on up, that they have a place in space at one of the most exciting times since we first reached for the stars.”

This image released by NASA on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, shows the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on the James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals previously obscured areas of star birth, according to NASA. (NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI via AP)

Part of the excitement in space comes from the first images released by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in early July 2022. Several experts outlined the potential of Webb in the report, including how it can peer through 13.5 billion light-years of space to examine the time called “cosmic dawn,” when the first stars were formed.

Another role of the JWST is to examine planets orbiting nearby stars to determine the chemistry of their atmospheres, allowing scientists to learn more about the building blocks of the galaxy and possibly spot habitable planets where life could form or exist.

Getting to distant stars, or closer destinations including Mars will require new forms of propulsion through space and new ways to power humankind’s first permanent outposts far from Earth. To fill both requirements, NASA is looking at new advancements in an old technology: nuclear fission. NASA leaders say atomic propulsion could halve the time it takes to reach Mars, and small atomic power stations could deliver electricity on the Moon and Mars for years with little or no maintenance.

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