Twitter Facebook Google RSS
 
National Defense > Blog > Posts > Report: China Outpaces U.S. on the Launch Pad
Report: China Outpaces U.S. on the Launch Pad
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For the first time in history, China launched more rockets into orbit in a one-year period than the United States, according to a report released here ahead of the Space Symposium, one of the largest annual gatherings of military, civilian and space industry executives.   
 
China had 19 successful launches in 2011. The United States had 18. Russia, however, outpaced them all by large margin with 31. At the end of 2011, there were 994 active satellites orbiting Earth, said The Space Report, an annual snapshot of the global space economy.
 
Overall, the worldwide space economy grew for the sixth consecutive year to $289.77 billion, and saw an increase of 12 percent, which the authors attributed to an improving global economy. Much of this increase was the result of a rise in space services such as commercial products based on GPS and satellite television.
 
Government sector spending in two of the largest economies, Japan and the United States, was flat. Spending in the United States on government space projects was $47.25 billion in 2011, a decline of less than 1 percent from the amount spent in 2010. Brazil, India and Russia each boosted their space budgets by more than 20 percent.
 
While U.S. government space budgets did not increase much, it is by far still the global leader. It constitutes 65 percent of worldwide spending. The European Space Agency is a distant second with $5.8 billion. China spent an estimated $3 billion in 2011. There was no Chinese year-by year growth data in the report.
 
Flat or declining U.S. budgets are expected to be a major topic at the conference with keynote speeches scheduled from Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler, U.S. Strategic Command commander, Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz, Gen. William Shelton, Air Force Space Command commander and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. The spiraling cost of launching spacecraft will also be discussed at several panels.
 
Roger Krone, Boeing president of network and space systems, said in an Arlington, Va., briefing before the conference, that the austere budget climate is the new norm, and that large companies such as his will have to nimble. Hunkering down and hoarding cash is not an option, he said.
 
Big Prime contractors have been accused of relying too much on government research-and-development contracts to spark innovation. This is the time to invest in new ideas and products to take advantage of emerging markets, he said. Boeing is spending its own funding to offer cybersecurity services, and will introduce a high-security mobile phone later this year. A cellular network-based phone will be a first for the company.
 
Spending its own R&D dollars, pursuing non-government business opportunities and fixed-price contracts, “is just the way the world is going to be,” Krone said.
 
In March, Boeing introduced the 702SP satellite, which as been called “the Volt of the spacecraft marketplace” since it is an all-electric vehicle and does not need to carry propellant. That reduces weight, and therefore, the price of launching satellites into space, he said. It was developed with internal funding.
 
This will be the first Space Symposium in 25 years when the United States has no means of sending astronauts into space. The retirement of the space shuttle in July 2011, with no replacement in the wings, has been a psychological blow to the U.S. space community.
 
But the report was optimistic about the prospect for U.S. commercial human spaceflight. NASA has invested R&D funding in several companies that hope to provide spacecraft capable of carrying astronauts to the international space station.
 
Companies such as Space Adventures and Virgin Galactic have continued to collect deposits for future space tourism flights. “A number of flight tests are scheduled to occur in 2012, indicating the possibility of growth in the near future as new services begin to carry passengers into space,” the report stated.
 
For the fourth straight year, the U.S. civil and commercial space work force continued to shrink, the report said. Nearly 8,000 jobs were lost in 2010, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, resulting in a work force of approximately 252,000. This was the second-lowest employment level recorded during the previous 10 years. Job losses are likely to continue once data is available for 2011 because of layoffs associated with the end of the space shuttle, the report said.
 
In contrast to the declining employment in civil and private space sectors, the U.S. military space work force increased by 6 percent over a two-year period, rising from 15,791 in 2009 to 16,739 in 2011. Those hanging on earn about 15 percent more than their scientists and engineers in other sectors, the report noted.

Continue checking this blog for coverage of the 28th annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs April 16-19.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post.
Items on this list require content approval. Your submission will not appear in public views until approved by someone with proper rights. More information on content approval.

Name: *

eMail *

Comment *

Title

Attachments

Name: *


eMail *


Comment *


 

Refresh
Please enter the text displayed in the image.
The picture contains 6 characters.

Characters *

  

Legal Notice *

NDIA is not responsible for screening, policing, editing, or monitoring your or another user's postings and encourages all of its users to use reasonable discretion and caution in evaluating or reviewing any posting. Moreover, and except as provided below with respect to NDIA's right and ability to delete or remove a posting (or any part thereof), NDIA does not endorse, oppose, or edit any opinion or information provided by you or another user and does not make any representation with respect to, nor does it endorse the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement, or other material displayed, uploaded, or distributed by you or any other user. Nevertheless, NDIA reserves the right to delete or take other action with respect to postings (or parts thereof) that NDIA believes in good faith violate this Legal Notice and/or are potentially harmful or unlawful. If you violate this Legal Notice, NDIA may, in its sole discretion, delete the unacceptable content from your posting, remove or delete the posting in its entirety, issue you a warning, and/or terminate your use of the NDIA site. Moreover, it is a policy of NDIA to take appropriate actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other applicable intellectual property laws. If you become aware of postings that violate these rules regarding acceptable behavior or content, you may contact NDIA at 703.522.1820.

 

 

Bookmark and Share