A new report says that government spending on space will flatten worldwide over the next five years. Some key quotes from the news story however suggest all is not going downhill:
A total of 692 satellites will be launched by governments in the coming decade, up 43% from the previous decade. This is a direct reflection of the increasing number of new space-capable countries across the globe. Civil agencies will launch roughly 75% of these satellites, a significant increase compared to the last decade during which they accounted for 67% of all government satellites launched.
Also, while certain areas will show a decline (the U.S. manned program) others appear robust.
Access to space (launch capability) investments reached $4.6 billion in 2010, and should be sustained in the coming years as more governments see independent access to space as a top priority of their space programs.
In both of the above examples, the areas where space activity will increase is because of the arrival of new space-faring nations (India, Japan, China to name only the most obvious), what I have been calling the new colonial movement. I also believe that as these new countries begin to show their stuff in space, their success will further fuel the competition, and the older space-faring nations will come back to life in order to stay in the game.