Private Investment in Space Blasts Off
Space Week runs through Thursday, an international week where science and technology are celebrated. NASA is dealing with some more terrestrial problems, though. The agency is gearing up to secure over $22 billion from Congress next year to realize the Trump administration’s goal of putting U.S. astronauts back on the moon. Even with these funding woes and sky-high aspirations, NASA’s annual budget dwarfs the amount of private investment being channeled into space ventures.
The funding NASA has received in the 21st-century totals around $381 billion, while private investment over the past two decades is just over $17 billion. Despite that clear advantage, private investment in space has taken off in recent years, increasing close to 400 percent over the past decade, while NASA’s budget has largely flatlined. NASA’s budget is much smaller than it once was. In the 1960s, during the heart of the Cold War space race, NASA received a budget worth about $50 billion in today’s dollars.
Private investments and commercial projects have tried to find their footing among the stars. Private ventures into space have increased astronomically since the beginning of the 21st century.
This chart shows private and public investment in space over the course of the 21st century.