This year has been a big one for the space industry. It may have been the most popular year for space in recent history. It has been a momentous year with the launch of the Space Launch System and the return of the Orion capsule.

Next year could be even bigger than this one because there is so much to look forward to. Some announced timelines that may or may not come to fruition are some of the questions that remain. There are predictions for the space industry in the near future.

1. More pressure on launch

As more next-gen vehicles come online, there will be increased pressure on the launch market. We are not just looking out for the heavy-lift rockets, but a whole slew of smaller and medium-lift launch vehicles that are aiming for low cost. ABL Space Systems has a rocket, and Orbex has a micro launcher. It is likely that at least a few new rockets will fly for the first time next year, despite the fact that space industry timelines are notoriously difficult.

Proving new vehicles drives prices down and increases inventory, meaning more launches and dates are available to private and government concerns, and incumbent players will need to work hard to keep the lead

2. Big developments from the UK, China and India

The international space scene will keep growing. We have our eyes on the United Kingdom, China and India. We expect to see the country's first-ever space launch from Spaceport Cornwall in the U.K. There will be a lot of activity from the Indian Space Research Organization and Skyroot. We think there will be no slowdown next year as China tries to keep pace with American industrial growth.

It's not clear how the decentralization of private space beyond a few major launch providers and locations will affect the industry.

3. Continued growth for satcom and earth observation

Two satellite images, one hyperspectral, showing more information.

The image is called "Pixxel."

Next year will see more large and small satellite constellations going up that will put pressure on the satcom and earth observation industries. Amazon's long-awaited Project Kuiper will likely see its first launches next year, as well as six hyperspectral imagery satellites by the end of the year.

We don't expect newer entrants to squeeze out existing players because most estimates assume satcom and EO will experience more growth. We think that we will see more adoption of Starlink or sat-to-cell services here on Earth, as well as more relevance for earth observation technologies in sectors like agriculture and mining.

4. Capital management will help decide winners and losers

The macroeconomic environment isn't good. Cash is more expensive due to high inflation and interest rates. Capital management will be a huge factor in startup survival because we see this trend slightly abating. More than ever before, investors will be looking for technical differentiators.

Playground, Seraphim and Root VCs talk funding trends at TC Sessions: Space

When it comes to technical diligence, it is more important than ever that the company you are backing has a clear technical advantage.

The investment in the space industry slowed down. There are many space companies that went public. Managing debt, institutional bloat, and capital management will be the focus of the program.

5. Private astronauts will hit record numbers

Blue Origin Launch shatner and crew

The image was created by Mario Tama and staff.

Is it a private space program for astronauts? It would have been nonsensical ten years ago. More than 20 people went to suborbital space aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket and four people flew to the International Space Station in the same year. We think these numbers will go up next year. Polaris Dawn will make its maiden mission, as well as Axiom will conduct its second private launch to the International Space Station.

We will probably get tired of hearing about a ticket to space in the next few years. Expect to hear more about the next big milestone in space tourism, privately accessible space stations, next year, but don't expect any serious movement there until companies figure out how to make the business work

6. More activity on the moon and cislunar space

Mission 1 is the world's first privately funded and built moon lander mission. That is just the start. There will be more landers heading to the moon next year, as well as more infrastructure moving to cislunar space.

Astrobotic’s CubeRover will try to survive the lunar night

More lunar tech companies make progress on their goals, the ones that don't will become more visible. This space has seen mergers and acquisitions before.

7. Even more emphasis on American manufacturing as supply chain crisis continues

The space industry will be affected by our final prediction. If relations between the U.S. and China continue to sour, we can expect investors and entrepreneurs to place more emphasis on domestic supply chains and manufacturing.