The burgeoning commercial space industry has made major advances since the end of the Cold War, benefiting from the increased willingness of the governments of the United States and Russia to open up space to commercial enterprises.
The following events represent key moments in the biography of the commercial space industry:
The Communications Satellite Act of 1962 opened the way for the first commercial communications satellites.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia paved the way for space privatization. In 1992, a private spaceflight called Space Flight Europe-America 500 was launched as a joint effort by the Russian Foundation for Social Inventions and the rocket company Photon.
Despite criticism from NASA, American businessman Dennis Tito became the first space tourist in 2001 when he paid the Russian Federal Space Agency $20 million for a trip to the International Space Station.
On February 1, 2010, President Barack Obama announced in a major space policy speech that NASA would get out of the business of flying astronauts from Earth to orbit.