Space and Innovation

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Author(s):
OECD
27 Oct 2016
Pages:
112
ISBN:
9789264264014 (PDF) ;9789264264007(print)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264264014-en

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After decades of innovation, satellites now play a discrete but pivotal role in the efficient functioning of modern societies and their economic development. This publication provides the findings from a OECD Space Forum project on the state of innovation in the space sector, with a view to examine how space innovation may impact the larger economy. New analysis and indicators contribute to answering some of the following questions: is the space sector still a driver for innovation in the 21st century? What are the determinants for an innovative space sector? And what are the policy responses to encourage and harness better space-related innovation?

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  • Foreword

    In our interconnected world, science and technology activities are a major source of innovation, productivity and economic growth. The space sector has been playing its part, having been for decades a driver of scientific exploration and knowledge, a sector with cutting-edge technologies, and a source of innovation diffused in other economic sectors. Many essential activities would be almost unthinkable today without satellite technology, like weather forecasting, or global communications and broadcasting. This new report highlights innovation dynamics that are transforming the space sector. New OECD analysis and indicators contribute to answering some of the following questions: Is the space sector still a driver for innovation in the 21st century? What are the determinants for an innovative space sector? And what are the policy responses to better harness and encourage space-related innovation?

  • Executive summary

    Known for its high technology dimensions, the space sector is currently experiencing an innovation-driven paradigm shift, both from within and outside of the space domain. “New space”, “small satellites for all”, “broadband everywhere”, “space tourism” represent some of these most recent evolutions. But one particular dynamic and transformative factor is the (r)evolution in downstream space applications, attracting new governmental and commercial entrants at both ends of the space sector’s value chains (from satellite and rocket manufacturing to satellite services). The availability of satellite positioning, navigation and timing signals, telecommunications connections in isolated locations and on mobile platforms (smartphones, ships at sea, aircrafts) and the growing access to satellite imagery combined with advances in miniaturisation, computer processing power and analytics are leading to new products and services, as entrepreneurs begin to seize satellite signals and data to create new businesses (e.g. the Pokemon Go application uses satellite positioning).

  • New trends in space innovation

    Known for its high technology dimensions, the space sector can be at times a conservative sector. But it is also currently experiencing a profound transformation driven by innovation both from within and from outside the space domain. This chapter reviews the main innovation characteristics of the space sector, the main drivers for space innovation, then provides policy responses to better monitor and encourage space innovation.

  • Mapping space innovation

    Innovation activities are diverse, complex and challenging to measure in a quantitative way. This chapter maps knowledge flows and innovation in the space sector in an original way. The analysis builds on new OECD indicators using bibliometrics and patents, examining scientific production in space literature (what are the hot topics in the literature?), looking at the globalisation of space innovation (who publishes and co-operates with whom?), and exploring the diffusion of space innovation in different sectors.

  • Institutions and policies conducive to space innovation

    Setting up the right environment for innovation is a constant challenge for policy makers. For the space sector, the determinants for innovation include the availability of a skilled workforce within the organisations that perform innovation and adequate access to financing. Another increasingly important factor concerns “linkages”, which are taking the shape of clusters and networks, facilitating technology transfer and broader innovation diffusion.

  • Making space innovation matter

    Based on current space innovation trends, this chapter features some forward-looking views, revisiting a decade later the initial scenarios that were first published in the OECD Space 2030 publications, which projected possible evolutions of the space sector. It also presents selected sector-specific developments and explores some of their possible roles in meeting some major societal challenges, like the digital divide and climate change management. Some space sector-specific developments like human spaceflight and space exploration are also examined.

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