12. Norway

Norway has been involved in space operations for more than sixty years, starting in 1962 with the launch of a suborbital atmospheric sounding rocket in the northern part of the country. Norway is home to important ground stations for polar-orbiting satellites and the European Galileo navigation satellites, thanks to its position close to the north pole. In recent years, the country has invested in both space- and ground-based infrastructure to exploit space technologies for both societal and economic purposes.

Government allocations to space activities have been rising steadily since 2015, with a yearly growth rate of 3.5%, reflecting the growing importance of space both for domestic and foreign policy objectives (Figure 12.1). Norway’s institutional budget for space activities reached USD 177 million (NOK 1.7 billion) in 2022, the majority of which (76%) is subscriptions to the European Space Agency and European Union programmes for earth observation and navigation. Still, national activities play a growing role and the country has considerably expanded its space infrastructure in the last decade, for both government and commercial operations, including the development of satellites for maritime monitoring and Arctic broadband connectivity and the development of a commercial spaceport. Overall, the government institutional budget for space activities accounted for about 0.031% of the Norwegian gross domestic product in 2022. This is a conservative estimate, including only the most prominent space-related budget items in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries and in the Ministry of Climate and the Environment.

Norwegian space industry has links to the defence, maritime and offshore sectors and has delivered subsystems to US and European launchers and missions, Industry revenues are dominated by telecommunications, maritime communications and satellite operations, reaching USD 1.3 billion (NOK 11 billion) in 2021. Employment in the Norwegian space sector was estimated to be 2 700 full-time equivalents.

In 2020, Norway established the International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) satellite data programme, which makes high-resolution and monthly updated imagery from private providers freely available for non-commercial use, to improve rainforest monitoring. Based on data in the OECD Development Assistance Committee Creditor Reporting System database, Norway was the top OECD country donor in space-related official development assistance over the 2002-21 period, with a total of 102 million constant US dollars committed (Figure 12.2). Commitments mainly focused on environmental policy and research purposes (general environmental protection); public sector policy and administrative management (“government and civil society”); and relief co-ordination and support services (“emergency response”).

In terms of scientific output and excellence (Table 12.1), OECD indicators for scientific production, international co-authorships and citations in space-related scientific journal categories (aerospace engineering; astronomy; atmospheric science; and space and planetary science) show that authors at Norway-affiliated institutions performed above the OECD average in aerospace engineering in 2021 for the share of top-cited publications (excellence), and had a strong output in atmospheric science.


NOSA (2023), “Key Figures estimated for the Norwegian Space sector 2021”, webpage, Norwegian Space Agency, https://www.romsenter.no/content/download/17190/160965.

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).

Scopus Custom Data, Elsevier, 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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