The Space Economy at a Glance 2007

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Space applications are becoming an increasingly important part of everyday life. Weather forecasting, air traffic control, global communications and broadcasting, disaster management -- these and many other key activities would be almost unthinkable today without satellite technology. The space industry itself is relatively small compared to other manufacturing sectors, but its technological dynamism and strategic significance mean that it plays an ever more critical role in modern society.

Paradoxically, it also figures among the sectors which are the least developed in terms of robust, internationally comparable statistics and data. This book attempts to rectify that situation by assembling information from a wide range of official and non-official sources. Together these paint a richly detailed picture of the space industry, its downstream services activities, and its wider economic and social impacts. Who are the main space-faring nations? How large are revenues and how much employment is there in the sector? How much R&D goes on, and where? What is the value of spin-offs from space spending? Answers to these and other questions are provided in this first-ever OECD statistical overview of the emerging space economy.

A dynamic link (StatLink) is provided for graphs, which directs the user to a web page where the corresponding data are available in Excel® format.

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Overview of the aerospace sector: background

The space economy evolved from the aerospace industry and the two still share many aspects, components and technologies (e.g. space launchers are modified guided missiles). Detailed examination of the space sector is hampered by this legacy since many data are still classified according to categories defined for aerospace. As the UN International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC) summarised in Box 1.1 shows, this covers everything from hang gliders to space shuttles, so national statistical offices and space agencies are working to make a clearer distinction between space and aerospace classifications. This will enhance the availability and accuracy of data on the space economy in the future.

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