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The Space Economy at a Glance 2011

image of The Space Economy at a Glance 2011

Space applications have become an 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. 

This book assembles information on the space economy 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 second 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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Innovation for future economic growth

Patents

The space sector has often been considered one of the main frontrunners of technological development. This was evident at the beginning of the space age (1950s) which yielded pioneering space systems. Analysis of patents provides some insight into innovative activities concerning the electrical and mechanical machinery and equipment required for space-based systems (satellites, launchers) as well as the downstream applications, such as telecommunications navigation systems. The number of space-related patents has almost quadrupled in fifteen years when looking at the applications filed under the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT) (Figure 9.1). The downturn after 2002 is due to a large degree to time-lag effects described in the “Methodological notes”. The narrow classification B64G: “Cosmonautics; vehicles or equipment thereof” shows a slower increase in the number of patents, meaning that other categories dealing with downstream products and services have gained in importance (Figure 3.6b and 9.2). The countries’ share in space-related patents over the 2000-08 period shows the United States and Europe leading, followed by Korea and Japan (Figure 9.3). Finally, in terms of revealed technological advantage, eight countries demonstrate a level of specialisation in space technologies patenting. The Russian Federation, France, Israel and the United States show a large amount of patenting in space activities, compared to other economic sectors (Figure 9.4).

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