In June 2010, Israel launched the OFEQ-9 reconnaissance satellite which joined ## others already in operation. China’s utilization of space for military purposes is even harder to gauge due to the country’s lack of transparency in its space programs. In 2010, the country launched ## Yaogan satellites with the stated purpose of engaging in scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment, and disaster monitoring. Many space analysts believe that the true mission of these satellites is for reconnaissance or other military purposes.
China began the year with only a few missions publicly disclosed, but a series of unannounced launches in the second half of the year made 2010 China’s busiest year ever in terms of launch activity, exceeding its previous national record of ## launches in 2008. While China had only launched ## rockets by the end of July, it carried out ## launches in the following three months.
Launch vehicles can be grouped into two categories. The first consists of vehicles that can propel their payloads fast enough at a sufficient altitude to achieve orbit. A launch vehicle that is unable to place a payload in orbit, but can still carry a payload into space, is referred to as a suborbital launch vehicle.
NASA’s Kepler spacecraft was launched in March 2009 aboard a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Kepler’s mission is to monitor the brightness of more than 100,000 stars in a single region of the sky for at least three years.
Some accepted estimation methods fais to take into account the fact that not all launch vehicles are equal. The smallest orbital launch vehicles can place payloads of only a few hundred kilograms into orbit, while the largest vehicles can carry tens of thousands of kilograms. This section explains how the Space Foundation provides meaningful methods of measuring space infrastructure.
Responsibility for Chinese space activities is shared by several agencies including the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which operates the country’s human spaceflight program and its launch centers. Data on the Chinese national space budget is difficult to obtain and estimates vary widely. During an April 2006 speech in Washington, DC, CNSA Vice Administrator Luo Ge stated that the CNSA budget was approximately US$## million per year. While this figure is credible for the CNSA as an agency by itself, it is likely too low to represent the full extent of space spending in China.
The National Congress of Brazil’s 2011 Federal Budget authorizes ## million reais (US$## million) for activities associated with the National Program of Space Activities (PNAE), a decrease of ##% from the authorization for the previous year. This authorization includes ## million reais (US$## million) for the Brazilian space agency,
Agência Espacial Brasileira (AEB), and ## million reais (US$## million) in capital investment associated with the Alcântara Space Centre.
In 2010, ## orbital launches occurred carrying ## payloads into space. These payloads included satellites, other types of robotic spacecraft, and cargo and crew missions to the International Space Station (ISS). Compared to the ## launches that took place in 2009, the launch rate in 2010 represents a #% decrease, discontinuing a five-year annual average growth rate of #% from 2005-2009.
The United States, Canada, and Europe together comprised about 35% of first-degree STEM graduates. Japan and South Korea comprised 8% and 6%, respectively, while Australia comprised 2%. Europe led in STEM doctoral degree production, comprising 44% of the total as of 2006 and experiencing growth of 29% between 2002 and 2006.
While mechanisms such as the PISA test reveal a cross-national focus on primary and secondary STEM competency, a more direct measure of the potential international space workforce is offered through a comparative analysis of STEM university graduates by country.