In 2012, the OECD published the Handbook on Measuring the Space Economy, the first international effort to systematically define and measure the “space economy”, a challenging task given its array of very diverse economic activities. Since then, the definition of the space economy provided in the publication has been widely adopted by governments and the private sector alike.

Much has changed in the space economy over the past decade, not least due to the ever-growing number of countries and business enterprises involved in space activities. Despite the development of new and improved surveys in many parts of world and significant overall progress in the quality of publicly available economic data, the international comparability of space economy statistics remains limited. Therefore, the time seems ripe to provide a revision of the Handbook on Measuring the Space Economy to reflect the changing landscape of space activities, space technologies and user needs for metrics.

The objective of this second edition of the Handbook is to encourage and facilitate data collection among both incumbent and new actors involved in space activities, as well as to respond to the needs of the public agencies that still fund the bulk of space programmes and to private-sector decision makers who also stand to benefit from improved statistics on the space economy. It updates and expands upon the first edition of the Handbook in the following areas:

  • Revised concepts and definitions for the space economy: High-level terms are defined with the aim to encourage improved international comparability for organisations wishing to compare their results.

  • Main principles of industry surveys: Building on best international practices and an extensive review of more than 20 space industry questionnaires, key principles have been assessed and outlined for organisations interested in developing space economy surveys. Original pointers and lessons learnt are provided, which may give new ideas to long-standing developers of surveys.

  • A statistical companion introducing approaches to evaluating and assessing the impacts of space activities: Step-by-step approaches to conducting evaluation and impact assessments are available from other sources and the Handbook does not attempt to replicate them. However, it explains different techniques that may be used and points to many existing studies focused on the impact of the space economy.

The Handbook is structured according to the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Introducing the OECD Handbook on Measuring the Space Economy

  • Chapter 2: Progress in concepts, definitions and measurement of the space economy

  • Chapter 3: Monitoring the evolving cast of space actors

  • Chapter 4: Using industry surveys to better understand the space economy

  • Chapter 5: Strengthening assessment of the impacts of the space economy.

This publication is based on research and analytical work conducted by the OECD Space Forum Secretariat in the Science and Technology Policy Division, within the Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). These activities are part of the broader programme of work of the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP).

The indicators in this report are constructed using data regularly provided by member countries’ authorities and from other OECD and international sources. The data primarily come from official sources such as OECD databases, statistical offices and national space agencies. In some cases, data are sourced directly from industry. The published indicators have been chosen based on reliability and timeliness of the required source data.

The team particularly thanks the member institutions of the OECD Space Forum for providing information, data and comments instrumental to the preparation of this publication. We also thank the representatives of industry, small businesses, academia, ministries and national delegates from the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy, who contributed substance during bilateral meetings and many OECD Space Forum workshops (see acknowledgements section).

The OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP) declassified the OECD Handbook on Measuring the Space Economy, 2nd Edition on 25 May 2022 by written procedure. The OECD Secretariat prepared it for publication.

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