20. Norway

Norway is a long-term participant in international space activities. The Norwegian Space Agency is a government agency under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. The Agency carries out Norwegian space policy, co-ordinates all space-related activities and represents the country in the European Space Agency.

A new government space strategy is currently being prepared, as well as an update of the Norwegian space legislative framework. The Norwegian government is also planning an Arctic satellite broadband communication system for government use, which would consist of two satellites, with a planned launch in 2022. Other recent policy activities include the creation of a national ground segment portal (Satellittdata.no) for data from the Sentinel satellites in the Copernicus programme.

In 2017, Norway allocated some NOK 1 154 million (USD 140 million) to space activities, a doubling of funding in real terms compared with 2008. Contributions to the European Space Agency (ESA), European Union (EU), 25%, and EUMETSAT accounted for some 90% of funding. Contributions to EU programmes for Galileo and Copernicus have increased over the years and now account for about 25% of the Norwegian institutional space budget. Norway contributes to all ESA voluntary programmes, in particular to the programmes for science (36%), telecommunications (20%) and earth observation (18%). The country also has a bilateral agreement with Canada for access to imagery from the Radarsat constellation. Since 2010, Norway has launched several very small and small satellites (AISSAT-1 and -2 and NorSat-1 and -2), detecting Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals from vessels, for the monitoring of fisheries, oil spills and maritime traffic.

Norway hosts satellite ground stations at both the Arctic and Antarctic poles. The world’s biggest commercial ground station for reading and distributing satellite data is located on the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard, linked to the European mainland with high-speed fibre optical cables. Both European and US agencies use the Svalbard station to downlink data from their polar-orbiting satellites.

There are also several suborbital launch and research facilities located above the Arctic Circle, notably the Andøya Space Centre and the ALOMAR Arctic atmosphere observatory. An important development in 2018 was the launch of the first sounding rocket fully developed and built in Norway by the Norwegian company Nammo in partnership with the Norwegian Space Agency and ESA. The rocket Nucleus, using innovative environmentally-friendly propulsion technology, was launched from the Andøya Space Centre and reached an altitude of 104 km.

The Norwegian space industry has capabilities in space manufacturing, satellite operations and downstream applications. Norwegian space manufacturing companies supply components, equipment and subsystems to several European satellites and launchers. Norwegian space manufacturers benefit greatly from ESA membership. An evaluation of the impact on Norway’s participation in ESA programmes between 2000 and 2017, including a cumulative 3-year delay, found an impact factor (multiplier) of 4.8 in company sales (Norwegian Space Agency, 2018[1]).

Important downstream activities include satellite ground station operations, broadcast and maritime telecommunications (Marlink, Telenor). Kongsberg is a leading supplier of satellite data download and processing services. Several companies also provide products and services related to positioning, navigation and timing and value-added services, often catering to businesses in the maritime and extractive industries. In 2015, the Norwegian space industry conservatively generated some NOK 7 billion (USD 868 million) in revenues (Norwegian Space Agency, 2016[2]).

Norway’s share in scientific publications in OECD’s “Space literature” dataset (see guide to the profiles) is comparable to that of Belgium and Brazil and has remained stable since 2000. Like in many other countries, Norway’s share of space-related patent applications has decreased between 2002-05 and 2012-15, mainly due to increased activity of new and emerging economies. Satellite TV and satellite broadband penetrations are above the OECD median. Satellite TV subscriptions have been steadily decreasing since 2007, while satellite broadband subscription rates remain stable. Space-related official development assistance projects in the period 2000-16 have focussed mainly on environmental management and telecommunications.

Figure 20.1. Norway – Fast facts
Figure 20.1. Norway – Fast facts
Figure 20.2. Space budget trends and main programmes
Figure 20.2. Space budget trends and main programmes

1. Norwegian space budget trends includes allocations to ESA, EU, EUMETSAT and national and multilateral programmes.

2. This category also includes microgravity and exploration.

Sources: OECD analysis based on institutional sources.

Figure 20.3. Scientific production in space literature, per country
Share of total space publications, 2000, 2008 and 2016
Figure 20.3. Scientific production in space literature, per country

Source: OECD analysis based on Scopus Custom Data, Elsevier, July 2018.

Figure 20.4. Top applicants of space-related patents
IP5 patent families, by priority date and applicant’s location, using fractional counts, 2002-05 and 2012-15
Figure 20.4. Top applicants of space-related patents

Note: Patent families are compiled using information on patent families within the Five IP offices (IP5). Figures are based on incomplete data from year 2014.

Source: OECD STI Micro-data lab: Intellectual Property Database, http://oe.cd/ipstats, March 2018.

Figure 20.5. Penetration of satellite telecommunication technologies in Norway
Satellite broadband and satellite TV subscriptions per 100 inhabitants
Figure 20.5. Penetration of satellite telecommunication technologies in Norway

Source: OECD analysis based on OECD Broadband database, https://www.oecd.org/sti/broadband/broadband-statistics/, and ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators database.

Figure 20.6. Norwegian space-related official development assistance commitments
Share of total space-related commitments, 2000-16
Figure 20.6. Norwegian space-related official development assistance commitments

Source: Analysis based on OECD DAC database (2018).

References

[3] Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research (2016), Prop. 1 S (2016 –2017) Proposisjon til Stortinget for 2017, [Budgetary bill 1 S (2016-17) to the Parliament] for 2017], Oslo, http://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/20d6abbdd38446468cd7d24c4a87f4a3/nn-no/pdfs/prp201620170001_kddddpdfs.pdf (accessed on 19 July 2017).

[4] Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Fisheries (2016), Prop. 1 S (2016–2017) Proposisjon til Stortinget for 2017, [Budgetary bill 1 S (2016-17) to the Parliament for 2017], Oslo, http://www.statsbudsjettet.no/upload/Statsbudsjett_2017/dokumenter/pdf/nfd.pdf.

[1] Norwegian Space Agency (2018), “Evaluering av industrielle ringvirkninger av norsk deltakelse i ESA-samarbeidet 2000-2017”, NRS-rapport, [Evaluation of industrial ripple effects of Norwegian participation ESA 2000-17], Norwegian Space Agency, Oslo, https://www.romsenter.no/no/Aktuelt/Publikasjoner/Norsk-industri-og-ESA-deltakelse-2000-2017 (accessed on 22 February 2019).

[2] Norwegian Space Agency (2016), Årsrapport 2015, [Annual Report 2015], Oslo, https://www.romsenter.no/Aktuelt/Publikasjoner/AArsrapport-2015 (accessed on 23 April 2018).

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