Space 2030

Space 2030

Exploring the Future of Space Applications You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
03 May 2004
Pages:
240
ISBN:
9789264020344 (PDF) ;9789264020320(print)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264020344-en

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Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, media attention has focused almost exclusively on spectacular space missions. However, space actors have also faced their fair share of setbacks: the Columbia tragedy, extravagant cost overruns and painful reductions in public support to space ventures.
Over the years, advances in space technologies have led to the development of increasingly sophisticated military and civil space assets.
Where is the space sector heading now? What are the obstacles to its further development? What are its future prospects? What are the applications that are likely to be successful in the future?
To answer these questions, this report adopted a scenario-based approach to explore the future evolution of major components of the space sector (military space, civil space, commercial space) over the next thirty years.  It covers four major factors of change: geopolitical developments, socio-economic developments, energy and the environment, technology.

"Outstanding review, especially useful for the three sophisticated scenarios, useful to many futurists."
Future Survey, August 2004.

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  • The Current State of the Space Sector

    To date, government has largely determined the evolution of the space sector, although the commercial segment took on greater importance in the 1990s in the aftermath of the cold war. The highly cyclical space industry is gradually recovering from the severe downturn of the early 2000s, which was largely due to the bursting of the dot.com bubble. In the medium term, public markets should be the industry’s main engine of growth, because the strategic value of space is increasingly recognised in the OECD area as well as in Russia and in a number of emerging space-faring countries, such as China, India and Brazil...

  • The Construction of Synthesis Scenarios

    The construction of scenarios provides a useful technique for exploring the future. In this process, each scenario represents an alternative vision of the future, i.e. a point on the map of possible futures. This chapter presents three scenarios for assessing the possible evolution of the space sector over the next three decades. They take into account three major drivers of change expected to have a major impact on the space sector in the future: geopolitical developments, socio-economic developments, energy and the environment...

  • Scenarios for the Future of the Space Sector

    This chapter sketches out the political, economic, social, energy, environment and technology consequences of each of the three synthesis scenarios presented in Chapter 2 and draws the implications for the future evolution of the main components of the space sector (military, civil and commercial)...

  • Implications for Space Applications

    This chapter draws out the implications of Chapters 2 and 3 for the future development of space applications. Both the potential demand for such applications under the various scenarios and an assessment of their technical feasibility are considered. Applications that appear to be "promising" i.e. both attractive from a demand perspective and technically feasible at a reasonable cost, when compared to possible terrestrial alternatives, are identified...

  • Final Remarks

    The space sector is currently recovering from the downturn of the early 2000s, but it is likely to face further periods of reduced activity in future because of the cyclical nature of the industry and the chronic situation of oversupply that plagues the upstream segment...

  • Annexes
  • Background paper 1

    For over half a century, mankind has been pursuing a dream of space exploration. The challenges have been Promethean in scope. The achievements have been remarkable and deeply transformative. The conquest of space has captured our imaginations and in so doing created a conundrum for futurists. How could it be that in a field of study so full of predictions, so many forecasts never came to pass (interplanetary travel, the mining of the moon)? Yet, at the same time, so many of the actual benefits were not properly anticipated (global communications with satellite phones, GPS). Our imaginations ran wild with the prospects of other worlds, yet failed to appreciate the possibilities on our home world ...

  • Background paper 2

    In this report the following approach was followed: In the first part an analysis is made of the past forecasts, in order to caution for the exactness of such forecasts in a transient sector such as space activities, but also to draw some ‘lessons-learned’ from this in conjunction with the technology developments. In particular, an analysis was made on the different activities which were forecasted to develop and the reasons why this was not the case. In the second part, the current main commercial sectors (launchers, telecommunications, navigation, ...

  • Background paper 3

    The relationship between space activities and international politics is one of symbiosis. Government investment makes space travel possible, and space capabilities, in turn, have become elemental to national power. Therefore, power relations among nations shape the market for space-related goods and services. Projections about the future of commercial space applications must take the global political environment into account. Although strategic competition can inspire governments to invest in space for military reasons, this report concludes that the ...

  • Background paper 4

    The ability of human beings to access and use the environment of outer space provides many unique opportunities for creating useful and profitable public and commercial goods and services. This ability has been present for just over forty years and has evolved and expanded as new technological breakthroughs have emerged from space R&D programs. From the perspective of the consumer, some goods and services such as voice communications that use space-based equipment are virtually indistinguishable from terrestrial-based products. Other services such as ...

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