5. Guide to the profiles

Using a common framework to present information, country profiles provide facts and indicators for countries that are members of the OECD Space Forum. The country profiles provide a quick, at-a-glance, overview of important activities and trends related to the key themes of this book and include both long-standing and new indicators developed by the OECD Space Forum.

Each profile provides information on the state of the country’s space sector; space-related government budgets, recent policy developments, as well as key commercial activities. These findings are supported by a selection of internationally comparable indicators, subject to data availability:

  • “fast facts” indicators

  • space budget trends and main programmes

  • top applicants of space-related patents

  • space-related official development assistance commitments

  • production and excellence in space-related scientific journal categories.

Although the issue of international comparability is improving, national data on space industry employment and revenues are still not always directly comparable, due to structural differences in the composition of countries’ respective space industries (e.g. the presence of satellite television providers will lead to higher revenue aggregates) as well as the scope of the underlying industry survey/data collection (which industry segments, inclusion of higher education and research institutes). The coverage and scope of data are identified in the text.

Throughout the country profiles, three-letter ISO country name abbreviations have been used. A list of country codes is provided at the beginning of the report, under Acronyms and abbreviations.

The Fast facts boxes summarise indicators found in different chapters of the publication.

  • The launch year of the first (successfully launched) satellite is a high-visibility marker of a country’s space programme. The satellite can be domestically developed or purchased from abroad; in both cases, it represents significant investments and new technical capabilities.

  • Orbital launch capability is a marker of high technological sophistication and national ambition. As of 2023, only 11 countries worldwide have demonstrated orbital launch capabilities, but this may change with OECD countries and other economies currently developing spaceports.

  • A country’s number of operational satellites in orbit is a proxy for a country’s regulatory responsibilities and economic stakes in the future of the space economy and the orbital environment.

  • The country’s institutional space budget (in current USD) as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) is based on government sources and OECD calculations.

  • The per capita space budget (in current USD) is intended as a quick and intuitive comparative indicator of the investments in institutional space programmes. The demographic data come from OECD databases

The indicator on institutional budgets provides a conservative estimate of the inflation-adjusted evolution of space programmes between 2015 and 2022. Also included is an overview of main space agency programmes for 2022 or the latest available year, subject to availability, which may indicate some of the key national priorities. Data come from government sources.

Budget trends are provided in both constant national currencies and in constant US dollars in order to give an indication of the currencies’ fluctuations, as many space budgets are affected by exchange rates. For calculations, this report makes use of the consumer price index (all items) as a deflator and exchange rates from the OECD Main Economic Indicators (MEI) database.

The indicator on space-related patent applications tracks innovation activities in the space sector. Patent applicants are often business firms but can also be based in research organisations or higher education institutions.

Space-related patent applications are identified using a combination of codes from the International Patent Classification (IPC) and keyword searches in the patent title. Data refer to IP5 patent families (inventions patented in the five top IP offices) filed between 2006-10 and 2016-20, by first filing date and according to the inventor’s residence, using fractional counts.

Similar to patent indicators, bibliometric indicators on scientific paper production and citations also serve as proxies for innovation activities. Authors of scientific papers are most likely found in higher education institutions and research organisations.

The analysis is based on documents (i.e. papers in scientific journals and conference papers) in four selected space-related journal categories from Elsevier’s Scopus Custom Data database, notably “aerospace engineering”, “astronomy”, “atmospheric science”, and “space and planetary science”. Categories can be overlapping, i.e. papers can be in more than one journal category. All analysis is based on fractional counts of papers by authors affiliated to institutions.

Top 10% most cited: The top 10% most cited documents is an indicator of excellence. This rate indicates the amount (in percentages) of a country’s scientific output that is included into the group of the 10% of the most cited papers in their respective scientific fields. It is a measure of high quality of research output. The world average is 10% for the period.

International collaboration: Percentage of scientific publications involving international collaboration. International collaboration refers to publications co-authored among institutions in different countries. Estimates are computed for each country by counting documents for which the set of listed affiliations includes at least one address within the country and one outside. Single-authored documents with multiple affiliations in different countries count as institutional international collaboration.

Scientific production: Total number of scientific publications, fractional counts. Publications are attributed to countries based on the authors’ institutional affiliations. Publications were fractionalised by contributing units (countries); so that reported figures add up to the total number of publications (each document has the same weight). Fractional counts can be aggregated. To improve comparability, country output was estimated per 100 000 inhabitants.

The Scopus Custom Data database allocates papers to scientific fields using the All Science Journal Classification (ASJC). It includes scientific publications in English (the majority) as well as other languages.

This indicator identifies the main thematic sector and donors of space-related official development assistance (ODA) committed over the period 2000-21, as reported in the databases of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). It contributes to tracking the actual use of space technologies to address socio-economic challenges in developing countries.

The OECD’s Development Co-operation Directorate has been in charge of measuring resource flows to developing countries since 1961, with particular attention given to the official and concessional part of this flow, defined as “official development assistance”.

In close collaboration with DAC colleagues, the OECD Space Forum Secretariat has explored the databases using keyword searches. The original dataset has been manually checked and cleaned in order to identify and retain only the projects effectively dealing with space-related initiatives. More than 2 200 ODA projects employing space applications or technologies were identified over the period.

Data are reported by donor country and/or organisation, in deflated USD million, with 2021 as reference year. In some cases, the recipient cannot be identified, either because it was not specified by the donor country or because the ODA was not designating a specific recipient). The list of thematic sectors (e.g. general environment protection, telecommunications) is defined by DAC and attributed to a project when it is entered into the DAC database.


OECD, STI Micro-data Lab: Intellectual Property Database, http://oe.cd/ipstats, June 2023.

OECD (2023), “Creditor Reporting System (CRS)", OECD.stat (database), https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=CRS1 (accessed on 24 April 2023).

OECD (2023), Main Economic Indicators (database), https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/data-00043-en (accessed on 20 May 2023).

OECD (2023), "National Accounts at a Glance", OECD National Accounts Statistics (database), https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00369-en (accessed on 11 August 2023).

Elsevier (2023), Scopus Custom Data, Version 1.2023.

Union of Concerned Scientists (2023), UCS Satellite Database, 1 January 2023 version, data extracted 27 July 2023, https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/satellite-database.

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