2022 was a momentous one in spaceflight, bringing to a close many of the most significant storylines that have dominated this industry in the last 10 to 15 years.
Consider the state of play in 2010: A handful of large government space agencies controlled spaceflight activities. NASA was still flying the venerable space shuttle with no clear plan for deep space exploration. The James Webb Space Telescope remained in development hell. Russia was the world’s dominant launch provider, putting as many rockets into space that year as the United States and China combined. At the time, China’s longest human spaceflight was four days. Much has changed in the last decade or so.
2022 was a watershed moment because so many of the major stories since 2010 reached their denouement. In this sense, it feels like the end of an era and the opening of a new one in spaceflight. This story, therefore, will look back at five of these major space storylines and then attempt to forecast what some of the dominant storylines for the remainder of the 2020s will be.
An exciting but uncertain road lies ahead.
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