The space industry blasted off in historic fashion in 2021. During the year, the industry hit a record-breaking USD 469 billion in annual global spending, according to a report by the Space Foundation published in July 2022. Even now, government and commercial space ventures show no signs of slowing.
SpaceX’s Elon Musk, Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson, and Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos are all titans of the modern space race. Their efforts have led the way for rapid progress in exploring and conquering “the final frontier” and the attainability of space tourism. The competition between these ultra-wealthy backers has been playfully dubbed as the “billionaire space race.”
SpaceX’s ascent through the ranks of aerospace companies has not been easy: Rather, it has been a slow, arduous climb to reach the heights it has achieved to date. Nothing has been guaranteed for SpaceX since landing its first NASA contract fourteen years ago, but now it provides NASA with a wide range of relatively affordable spaceflight services. SpaceX has been paid a record USD 2.04 billion for those services in the 2022 fiscal year. Only the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), a nonprofit that includes the entirety of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), received more during the same period, totaling USD 2.68 billion, ranking them higher on NASA’s list of FY 2022 vendors. Boeing came in third with USD 1.72 billion, followed by Lockheed Martin with USD 1.34 billion.
SpaceX is a deserving recipient of this funding considering the efforts the company has made this year. As of September 2022, the Starlink satellite alone has completed 43 launches in 2022 and finished the 62nd dedicated Starlink launch overall, breaking the launch pad turnaround record. Two months later, the Falcon 9, SpaceX’s rocket, is making headlines after hitting its 50th launch in 2022, successfully launching French satellite communications provider Eutelsat’s Hotbird 13G satellite.
“The sky is not the limit; it’s just the view,” seems to be the logic Elon Musk abides by.