At the dawn of the Space Age, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik and the United States raced to catch up, the ensuing years became a financial slugfest between two behemoth countries.

According to a 1964 CIA comparison of space program expenditures, the U.S. spent $15.9 billion on space expenditures from 1957 to 1964, while the USSR spent an estimated $10.2 billion ($127.5 billion and $81.8 billion adjusted for inflation in 2018, respectively). 

In the six decades since, technology and innovation have put 76 countries in space. Now, thanks to continuing innovation and rapidly declining launch costs, more countries than ever are developing spaceports, and increasingly, partnering with state governments and private companies to do so. That is a key conclusion from research in The Space Report Quarter Four.

The Space Foundation published the fourth quarter 2019 issue of The Space Report today and shared other key findings: 

  • Around the world, there are 40 active spaceports, 10 in development and at least 13 proposed.
  • The U.S. has five times as many spaceports active, in development, or proposed compared to its nearest competitor, Russia, which currently has five active spaceports and no new known ones in development. China is third with four active spaceports.
  • In 2018, with 198 spacecraft launched, the U.S. averaged 5.8 spacecraft per launch. Russia, with 60 spacecraft put in orbit, averaged 3.8 spacecraft per launch. China delivered 105 payloads to space, averaging 2.6 spacecraft per launch.
  • In the last decade, according to NASA’s Ames Research Center, commercial rocket development has reduced the typical space launch cost by a factor of 20 while NASA’s launch cost to the International Space Station has declined by a factor of four. 
  • The average price per kilogram for a launch prior to the year 2000 was US$18,500. In 2018, the Falcon 9 rocket price per kilogram to launch a payload into low Earth orbit was US$2,719. 
  • At three U.S. spaceports alone, state investment in New Mexico, Virginia and California totals $455 million. 

The Space Report’s
 2019 analysis also examines the state of venture capital investment in commercial space and provides a global review of new space policies. Among the key points in these areas:

  • In the last 10 years, more than $24.6 billion has been invested in space companies, with more than 20% of that total coming in 2018, according to Space Angels, an investor collective that focuses on early stage space investment.
  • In the 2019 third quarter, 18 of 31 stocks tracked by the S-Network Space Index gained value, with eight of the 18 growing by 12% or more. The S-Network Space Index tracks a global portfolio of publicly traded companies that are active in space-related businesses such as satellite-based telecommunications and rocket and satellite manufacturing.

The Space Foundation’s Research & Analysis team produces The Space Report. Media interested in purchasing The Space Report should contact the Space Foundation at for a discount code that will allow you to receive all four quarters for $99 annually.


The Space Report is available for purchase by the public for $250 per quarter or $499 for all four quarters at
. The full PDF is also available to subscribers of The Space Report Online. The online subscription provides members with searchable access to all the research conducted for The Space Report since 2005.

About the Space Foundation

Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and the world’s premier organization to inspire, educate, connect, and advocate on behalf of the global space community. It is a leader in space awareness activities, educational programs, and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium. Space Foundation headquarters is in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, and has a public Discovery Center, including El Pomar Space Gallery, Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere®, and the Lockheed Martin Space Education Center. The Space Foundation has a Washington, D.C., office, as well as field representatives in Houston and on the Florida Space Coast. It publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity, and through its Space Certification and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, recognizes space-based innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. Visit both websites — and — and follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.


Lesley Conn

Space Foundation Senior Manager  Research & Analysis