U.S. space sales rose 2.4 percent to $46.4 billion in 2011 despite the retirement of NASA’s space shuttle fleet but are expected to dip slightly in 2012, Aerospace Industry Association (AIA) President Marion Blakey said Dec. 14 during the Arlington, Va.-based trade group’s annual year-end review and forecast lunch.

AIA predicts that the U.S. space industry will ring up $45.1 billion in sales in 2012, or about $1.3 billion less than 2011 and $200 million less than 2010.