The Space Economy at a Glance 2014

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23 Oct 2014
9789264217294 (PDF) ; 9789264225459 (EPUB) ; 9789264222304 (HTML) ;9789264210998(print)

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The space sector plays an increasingly pivotal role in the functioning of modern societies and their economic development as the use of satellite technology gives rise to new applications, uses and markets. Space Economy at a Glance offers a statistical overview of the global space sector and its contributions to economic activity using data from over 40 countries with space programmes, and identifies new dynamics in the space sector.

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  • Foreword

    This publication is part of the OECD’s At a Glance series which provides snapshots of key policy areas based on data and indicators. The Space Economy at a Glance (2014) provides a statistical overview of the global space sector and its contributions to economic activity. This new edition provides not only recent indicators and statistics based on both official and private data, but also a strategic outlook that identifies new dynamics in the space sector. The figures cover, for the first time, more than forty countries with space programmes.

  • Acronyms
  • Executive summary

    The global space sector is a high-technology niche with a complex ecosystem, which employed at least 900 000 persons around the world in 2013, including public administrations (space agencies, space departments in civil and defence-related organisations), the space manufacturing industry (building rockets, satellites, ground systems); direct suppliers to this industry (components), and the wider space services sector (mainly commercial satellite telecommunications). But these estimates do not take into account universities and research institutions, which also play a key role in R&D, as receivers of public contracts and initiators of much of the space sector’s innovation.

  • Reader's Guide

    This reader’s guide introduces the contents and structure of The Space Economy at a Glance publication, some general definitions, the sources used and some methodological notes.

  • The space sector in 2014 and beyond

    reviews major trends in the space sector. It first provides a review of the space economy in 2014. It then focuses on an original analysis of global value chains in the space sector, including a spotlight on fifty years of European space co‑operation. The chapter also looks at new dynamics in the sector, which may impact incumbents and new entrants, with a focus on innovation in industrial processes and the development of small satellites.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Readiness factors: Inputs to the space economy

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    • Civilian space R&D programmes budgets

      Institutional budgets are critical in starting-up and developing capital-intensive and high technology sectors such as space. Government Budget Appropriations or Outlays for R&D (GBAORD) data are assembled by national authorities analysing their budget for R&D content and classifying them by socio-economic objective. These diverse objectives represent the intention of the government at the time of funding commitment, and a special category exploration and exploitation of space exists. Although the data provide only a partial picture of space investments (see note below), the long-term time-series provide useful trends on policy orientations.

    • Institutional space budgets

      In most countries, institutional space budgets fund a large range of activities in space research, development and applications in both civilian and defence domains. Budgets are usually spread across several government agencies (including defence), which makes them sometimes difficult to track in national accounts. The estimates provided here should therefore be considered as conservative.

    • Regulatory framework

      The legal and regulatory framework determines the rules according to which space actors operate. During the 1960s and 1970s, a set of international treaties and principles was enacted establishing the peaceful uses and non-appropriation of outer space. Based on this regime, governments are liable under international space law whenever a space object is launched from their territory, even if it is by a private entity. This international regime is therefore complemented by national space laws, to mitigate the risks for governments involved in space activities with an appropriate national licensing structure that regulates institutional and private space activities taking place on their soil.

    • Human capital

      Human capital is instrumental for the development and sustainability of the space sector. The sector is home to highly skilled professionals, mainly technicians, scientists and engineers. The global space sector employs at least 900 000 persons around the world in 2013, including public administrations with responsibilities for managing space activities and publicly-funded research and development programmes (space agencies, space departments in civil and defence-related organisations), the core space manufacturing industry (building rockets, satellites, ground systems), direct suppliers to this industry and the wider space services sector (mainly commercial satellite telecommunications). Not included in this estimate are other major actors, which play a direct or indirect role in space programmes (e.g. universities, military personnel working on classified programmes). To give orders of magnitude, around 350 000 full-time employees are active in the United States, 200 000 in the Russian Federation, around 60 000 in Europe. A focus on the essential but narrower space manufacturing industry is provided in other indicators (see . Space manufacturing activities).

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Intensity: Activities and outputs in the space economy

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    • Space manufacturing activities

      Many economies have developed industrial capacities in space manufacturing. This implies industries involved in one or several high-technology value chains ranging from basic research and development, to manufacturing a satellite, its components, launch capabilities, and developing the associated ground-segment to operate these systems. Space manufacturing remains in 2014 a highly specialised high-tech industry, relatively small in size but with highly-qualified human resources. Employment may decrease over the next two years in different parts of the world (Europe, United States, Russian Federation) as several major manufacturers are restructuring their space business after mergers and putting in place vertical integration of their activities.

    • Space launch activities

      Only a few countries in the world have the technology and facilities to carry out an orbital space launch, or to maintain a fleet of operational launchers. In 2014, this applies to eight countries (United States, Russian Federation, China, Japan, India, Israel, Iran and Korea) and the European Space Agency (ESA). Since 1994, more than 1 300 successful launches have been carried out, with the Russian Federation and the United States accounting for almost 75% of all launches. The launch industry is subject to strong yearly variations (due to the low number of launches per year, satellite life and replacement cycles, etc.). After a drop in the early 2000s, launch numbers are back at 1990s levels, mostly due to increased activity in the Russian Federation and in China, which now has the same number of yearly launches as the United States. In 2013, 78 successful launches were carried out: 31 Russian launches, 19 US, 14 Chinese and seven European. India and Japan had three launches each, and Korea’s launch vehicle Naro-1 successfully placed STSAT-2C in orbit. There were three failed launches: one Russian, one Chinese and one commercial launch (Sea Launch).

    • Satellite telecommunications

      Satellite services are a growing part of the global communications infrastructure. Through unique capabilities, such as the ability to offer point-to-multipoint communications distribution with small receivers, to effectively blanket service regions, and provide a flexible architecture in hard to reach places, satellite services constitute an important complement to terrestrial telecommunications services.

    • Satellite earth observation

      Satellite earth observation (EO) systems are playing an increasingly important role in the global economy. They provide unique capabilities in close association with ground-based sensors to generate the data and information needed to manage and monitor natural resources, land-use and to better understand and cope with major societal issues (pollution, impacts of climate change).

    • Satellite weather and climate monitoring

      Meteorology was the first scientific discipline to use space capabilities in the 1960s, and today satellites provide observations of the state of the atmosphere and ocean surface for the preparation of weather analyses, forecasts, advisories and warnings, for climate monitoring and environmental activities. Three quarters of the data used in numerical weather prediction models depend on satellite measurements (e.g. in France, satellites provide 93% of data used in Météo-France’s Arpège model). Three main types of satellites provide data: two families of weather satellites and selected environmental satellites.

    • Global navigation satellite systems (GNSS)

      Like time-keeping, the ability to locate one’s position or the position of various objects accurately and reliably is a growing need in our modern economies, with wide-ranging implications for traffic management, security, the environment, the management of natural resources and the provision of personal services (civil and commercial).

    • Space exploration activities

      Space exploration is a key driver for investments in innovation and science, and it constitutes an intensive activity for space agencies and industry. Space sciences and planetary missions have developed markedly over the years, with new actors joining in, although no country can today launch a major exploration mission alone, because of the costs involved and since the supply chains for systems and components have become so internationalised (see ). Another factor for co-operation is the need for deep space monitoring systems, based on international arrays of giant radio antennas installed in different countries (e.g. Australia, Chile, United States, South Africa), to keep communication links with interplanetary spacecraft missions.

    • Human spaceflight activities

      More countries than ever are investing in indigenous human spaceflight capabilities, usually in collaboration, by providing scientific experiments and equipment to larger missions through a variety of means: sounding rockets, suborbital flights, and of course orbital spaceflight missions (currently only available via flights to the International Space Station (ISS) or the Chinese Tiangong-1 test-bed space station).

    • International trade in selected space products

      International trade in space products, i.e. satellites and rockets, is relatively limited. It remains highly regulated and subject to government control, with a rather small volume of production and a high degree of custom-made parts and materials. All these factors constrain trade; however, official trade statistics do reveal some notable trends.

    • Space-related patents

      Patenting in the space sector is not as common as in other sectors, as commercial discretion and institutional confidentiality are often still priorities for some space systems. There are only a few hundreds patents a year. Still, the number of space-related patents has almost quadrupled in 20 years, as revealed by the applications filed under the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT). The space application areas (i.e. satellite navigation, earth observation, telecommunications) have also gained in importance in a decade.

    • Scientific production in the space sector

      Scientific papers on satellite technologies have been published in specialised journals since the late 1950s, but they remained the remit of just a few experts for almost 30 years. After a first rise in the number of publications in the early 1980s, production stagnated until the end of the cold war. Since 1991, the multiplication of specialised journals and international conferences has strongly impacted the diffusion of publications on satellite technologies, growing from 2 000 to more than 6 000 in 2003, and reaching almost 16 000 papers in 2013 alone. This trend parallels the growing number of countries involved in space programmes, especially from the BRIICS.

    • Insurance market for space activities

      Although launching satellites appears to be a routine operation to the general public, there are still major risks involved. A branch of the insurance sector specifically covers the commercial space sector’s operations. The main risks covered still tend to be a failure at launch or mechanical troubles for large commercial telecommunications satellites. In addition to launch and deployment failure, space debris and solar storms pose collision and damage risks for satellites. The insured values usually cover the satellite’s replacement costs and/or the resulting business interruption.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Impacts: Bringing space down to earth

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    • Evaluation of national space investments

      As institutional funding still supports the bulk of the space R&D taking place in space agencies, industry, academia and research institutes, there is a growing demand worldwide for impact assessments to evaluate any derived economic and social benefits, despite the relatively large up-front and sustained investments needed to engage durably in space activities.

    • Early warning of risks and hazards

      Efficiency and productivity gains derived from the use of space applications are becoming more visible across very diverse sectors of the economy, although experiences in estimating impacts vary across countries. From agriculture to energy, and routine surveillance, institutional actors and private companies are increasingly using satellite signals and imagery in geospatial tools. Satellites can also play a key role in providing communications infrastructure rapidly to areas lacking any ground infrastructure, contributing to link rural and isolated areas with urbanised centres.

    • Improved land and sea monitoring

      The ubiquitous surveillance capability of satellites is currently applied to monitor food production, international borders and transportation hubs by many countries. These monitoring systems, based on imagery and real-time tracking, combined with other surveillance mechanisms, contribute to detecting and tracking the cascading effects of illegal practices or accidents (e.g. tracking illegal fishing operations; spread of piracy; sea pollution and accidents impacting populated coastal areas (fisheries, tourism and ecosystems). In terms of cost efficiencies, the value of monitoring sea routes has been studied over the years and the benefits from satellite observations and navigation are deemed important. They include improved ship detection over large geographic zones, allowed by the integration of satellite imagery with other tools (e.g., aerial patrols) has brought out efficiencies in commercial shipping thanks to faster transit times (Canada, Norway), as well as a useful deterrent factor for illegal fishing (France) (Table 22.1).

    • The space industry's RandD intensity

      The research and technology (RandD) intensity of higher-technology industries remains strong in developed economies, and the space sector is a good example. R&D intensity is a key indicator for the assessment of innovative activity at the firm and industry level. Although many OECD economies have seen in the past decade the number of enterprises and total employment falling in manufacturing, higher technology sub-sectors have fared relatively well so far. High technology-intensive sectors, like the space sector, tend to benefit from a stock of long-term past R&D investments, not easily and rapidly delocalised. The challenge for these sectors is to constantly prepare the future with new R&D investments.

    • The spin-offs from space investments

      Technologies are usually developed to respond to specific needs, but once they are created, they may have multiple uses. Over the years, space agencies have been facilitating the exploitation of space technologies to non-space applications.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts The global aerospace sector in perspective

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    • The civil aerospace markets

      The aerospace sector is an important source of manufacturing employment in the OECD area. It is historically linked to defence programmes; and civil and military aerospace products and services are often provided by the same major industrial groups. The sector is expected to grow significantly in the next decade, as mobility in general and air traffic in particular is expected to increase, especially in emerging economies. There are several aerospace markets, which are often quite distinct from each other, although they all share the same basic need for sustained research and development. The space sector represents a rather small segment of the industry, as indicated by large aerospace industry associations. The data usually take into account space manufacturing activities, and overlook other space-related activities that are taking place outside the aerospace industry (e.g. commercial satellite telecommunications operators).

    • Business enterprise RandD (BERD) in aerospace

      BERD is an indicator covering RandD activities carried out in the business sector by firms and institutes. Although R&D is often carried out in government agencies and academic institutions, it is the business-driven research that is mostly associated with the creation of new products and business practices and innovation.

    • Aerospace trade

      The aerospace sector accounts for about 35% of total OECD exports in goods, with OECD economies still representing 90% of the global aerospace export market shares. The OECD countries exported aerospace goods for a total value of about USD 309 billion in 2012, and imported goods for USD 194 billion. The main OECD exporting countries were the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, which are homes to 16 of the 20 top global aerospace and defence manufacturers. The United States, France and Germany were also the top importers of aerospace goods, followed by the United Kingdom, China and the United Arab Emirates. Asia and the Middle East are particularly homes to rapidly growing airlines, with air traffic inside China projected to grow annually by almost 8%, (Boeing, 2013). Few countries export more aerospace final goods (e.g. entire aircraft and satellites) than intermediate goods (e.g. aircraft and satellite components, propulsion equipment), and those that do tend to be among the top exporters. The importance of intermediate goods and services in trade is growing. In 2012, the biggest exporters of intermediate products were the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Singapore, while the biggest importers of intermediate products where the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Some 18 countries showed a positive aerospace trade balance in 2012, with the United States, France and Germany having an aerospace trade surplus of more than USD 20 billion. Ireland and Japan are the OECD countries with the highest negative trade balances. The negative aerospace trade balance of China amounted in 2012 to USD 18 billion. Some details in trade for selected countries can be found in Chapter  (country profiles).

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Country profiles: Actors in the space economy

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    • Guide to the profiles

      Using a common framework to present information, country profiles provide facts and indicators for a selected number of countries with space programmes (i.e. members of the OECD Space Forum and selected emerging economies). Country profiles provide general information on the state of the country’s space sector, supported by indicators: a brief review of the institutional framework for space activities; a section on industry; and a section on the national aerospace sector.

    • Canada

      Canada’s history in space goes back to the 1960s when it was the third country to send an artificial satellite into space (Alouette 1). Canada has over the years developed a dynamic space programme, positioning its space industry in several niche areas, including robotics, satellite communications and satellite radar imagery. Canadian space policy has been the subject of review during the last couple of years, with the publication of the Aerospace Review at the end of 2012, and the launch of the new space policy framework in February 2014. The new policy puts a strong emphasis on space applications to support national interests and also envisages increased private sector participation in space and an increased commercialisation of Canadian space activities. There will also be a continued emphasis on international collaboration and R&D.

    • France

      France became the third country to place a satellite in orbit independently in 1965 (Asterix). Ever since, it has been a driving force behind autonomous European access to space, with the development of the Ariane launchers and continuing support for the European spaceport in French Guyana. In 2013, France had the largest national space budget in Europe and was the second biggest contributor to the European Space Agency, with major aerospace production sites located throughout the country.

    • Germany

      Germany is a major actor in the European space sector, as the largest funder to the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2013, as well as an important location for space manufacturing. Germany’s space policy focuses on the sustainable use of space for the benefit and needs of the population (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, 2010). The latest government space strategy was published in 2010 and identified ten priorities: expanding strategic space expertise; sustainably reinforcing Germany’s position in space research; tapping new markets and establishing a unified legal framework; using space for purposes of whole-of-government security preparedness; shaping the distribution of roles in the European space sector; defining German and European roles in exploration; securing technological independence; retaining human spaceflight; maintaining the Moon as a target for exploration; and ensuring the sustainability of space activities (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, 2010).

    • India

      India has an ambitious and wide-ranging space programme, aiming to develop independent capabilities and indigenous high technologies. The Indian Space Programme has been active for more than half-a-century, since its first experiments with sounding rockets in the early 1960s. The Department of Space, which is responsible for managing the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is directly under the authority of the Indian Prime Minister. The budget and policies of the Department of Space and ISROs are determined in 5-year planning cycles by the Indian Planning Commission; the latest plan was launched in 2012 and ends in 2017. This Twelfth Five Year Planassigned INR 397.5 billion (Indian Rupees) to the Department of Space (around USD 7.4 billion). In 2013, ISRO’s budget estimate amounted to INR 68 billion (USD 1.2 billion). The main objectives until 2025 include the strengthening/expanding of operational services in communications and navigation; developing enhanced imaging capabilities for natural resource management, weather and climate change studies; space science missions for better understanding of the solar system and the universe; planetary exploratory missions; development of heavy lift launcher and reusable launch vehicles; and a human space flight programme (Indian Planning Commission, 2013). Even after adjustment for inflation, the Indian space budget saw significant increases in 2010 and 2011, followed by decreases more pronounced in constant USD due to exchange rates impacts.

    • Italy

      Italy has a long history of space exploration and was the third country in the world to launch and operate a satellite in orbit in 1964 (San Marco 1). It was also a founding member of the European Space Agency, to which it is today third biggest contributor, after Germany and France. Italy is actively involved in all domains of space applications and exploration, both at the national and international level, and has an important space manufacturing industrial base as well as a mature downstream sector providing services.

    • Korea

      Korea’s space activities started in the early 1990s with the construction and overseas launching of satellites and sounding rockets. In 2007, in accordance with the Space Development Promotion Act, Korea established its first Space Development Basic Plan, which covered space development matters, including policy, organisational structure, financial and human resources, infrastructure expansion and international co-operation. The Basic Plan was consolidated by Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Ministry of Strategy and Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of National Defence, Ministry of Security and Public Administration, Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs and the National Intelligence Service.

    • Norway

      Norway has been active in space for the last 50 years, driven in the beginning by solar research and sounding rocket activities on the launch facility of Andøya, an island in northern Norway. In the last decades, the country’s geographic situation combined with low population density and strong maritime interests have made space applications particularly relevant. The proximity to the North Pole also makes it an important location for ground stations for polar-orbiting satellites. In 2013, the Norwegian government expressed a series of priorities and goals in a White Paper reviewing the national space policy for the first time in almost 30 years (Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, 2013). The importance of space for economic growth and meeting societal needs was underlined.

    • Switzerland

      Switzerland has been active in European space activities since the early 1960s. It was a founding member of the European Space Agency (ESA) and co-chairs the ESA Council at ministerial level since 2012. The country takes a wide-ranging interest in space, while specialising in specific segments. Having longstanding capacities in space science, it has been a supporter of European launcher programmes from the beginning and has developed industry capabilities in this sector. Over time Switzerland has built up capacities in exploration and exploitation of space infrastructure, where applications and services are becoming increasingly important. Switzerland is also one of 10 countries supporting the European Southern Observatory (ESO) which operates two major observatories in Chile. The Swiss Space Office (SSO) is the administrative unit responsible for planning and implementing Swiss space policy, as defined by the Federal Council. It is under the direct authority of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research.

    • United Kingdom

      The United Kingdom is the fourth-biggest contributor to the European Space Agency (ESA), after Germany, France and Italy. The country has a strong space-related scientific and industrial base, particularly in satellite manufacturing and downstream applications. The development of the space sector is today considered an important part of UK industrial policy, with the expressed objectives to reinforce private sector research, support foreign trade and strengthen national and international public space organisations. This could be accompanied by an increase in government allocations from 2014 onwards (UK Space Agency, 2014).

    • United States

      The United States has the largest space programme in the world, involving several civilian and defence-related organisations. Major organisations with space missions include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation (Office of Commercial Space Transportation), the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of the Interior’s Geological Survey (USGS).

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