Space Foundation: Space Economy Grew by 4 Percent in 2013

Space Foundation: Space Economy Grew by 4 Percent in 2013

The Space Foundation released its annual report on the state of the space economy today.   It asserts that the global space economy grew by 4 percent in 2013 reaching a new record of $314.17 billion.

Government spending around the world accounts for less than a quarter of that amount, and was less in 2013 compared to 2012 “as significant cuts in the U.S. space budget were only partly offset by growth in the space budgets of other countries.” 

The reduction in U.S. Government space spending was both in civil and national security space primarily because of the sequester.  

NASA’s spending dropped from $17.77 billion in FY2012 to $16.85 billion in FY2013, for example.   (It rebounded to $17.65 billion for the current fiscal year, FY2014.)   Calculating how much the United States spends on national security space is a challenge since so much information is classified and space activities are not grouped together into a single account in the DOD budget.   The Space Foundation estimates that it was $21.72 billion in FY2013.   Adding in funding for other agencies like NOAA and NSF, it uses $41.257 billion as the total for U.S. government space spending in 2013, 9.4 percent less than 2012.

Even with that reduction, the U.S. space program overall still accounted for 55.7 percent of total government spending around the globe in 2013 according to the report.

The growth in the space economy was in the commercial sector.  The report concludes that of the $314.17 billion space economy in 2013:

  • 24 percent was government spending
    • 13 percent U.S.;
    • 11 percent non-U.S
  • 76 percent was commercial
    • 37 percent for commercial infrastructure and support industries;
    • 39 percent commercial space products and services

Commercial space infrastructure includes satellite manufacturing, launch services, space stations, ground stations, and associated equipment.    Commercial space products and services includes revenues from satellite broadcasting (television and radio), communications, and Earth observation.

In terms of the satellite launch industry, there were 81 orbital launch attempts in 2013, of which 78 were successful in placing their primary payloads into orbit.  The Space Foundation counts 23 of those as commercial launches, of which Russia conducted 12, the United States 6, Europe 4, and the multinational Sea Launch consortium 1. 

A brief summary of the report and information on how to purchase the full report is on the Space Foundation’s website.

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