Revenues from worldwide government and private spending on space projects rose to $251.6 billion last year, up 11 per cent from 2006 despite the economic crises in many countries, an analysis released on Tuesday said.
This was revealed in The Space Report 2008: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity, released by the Space Foundation, a non-profit organisation that states its goals as ''advancing space-related endeavors to inspire, enable, and propel humanity''.
The Space Report 2008 is a publication that thoroughly examines and analyzes the state of the space industry. The flagship product of the Space Foundation's Research and Analysis division, The Space Report 2008 covers primarily 2007 data, contains information on global space budgets and revenues, a yearly summary and analysis of the Space Foundation Index, and, for the first time, addresses US labour and workforce issues.
The report had first been published in 2006, and looked at the global space industry in its entirety for the first time and established a value for the industry in terms of budgets and revenues, as well as creating a market index for space, known as the Space Foundation Index.
The index is a weighted index that tracks the market performance of 31 public companies that derive a significant portion of their revenue from space-related assets and activities. From its inception in June 2005, through December 2007, the Space Foundation Index increased by more than 29 per cent, on pace with the NASDAQ Composite Index and outpacing the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.
''We are pleased to announce that since the original publication of The Space Report 2006, the global space economy has grown significantly, with double-digit increases each year,'' said Space Foundation president and CEO Elliot G. Pulham. ''It is an exciting time to be part of the space industry,'' he added, saying that ''in a business climate full of uncertainty and cutbacks'', all sectors of space continue to grow.
Breaking up the figures, the report stated that more than half of global space economic activity stemmed from purchases of commercial satellite-based products and services at 55 per cent, while the US government contributed another quarter of the total. Direct-to-home television and Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment and chipsets, the two largest sub-segments of the commercial space industry, also posted the strongest growth numbers in 2007, with 19 per cent and 20 per cent increases, respectively.
What the space powers spent
As for government spending on space-related expenses, the US figure of $62.3 billion accounted for 81 per cent of global government space spending. Of these $62.3 billion, 71 per cent or $45 billion was related to defence, while NASA, the US civilian space agency, received $17.3 billion last year, according to the report.
Russian space spending rose 49 per cent to $1.32 billion in 2007 from a year earlier, driven largely by increased investment in Russia's GLONASS global navigation satellite system, the report said. GLONASS is supposed to be the Russian alternative to the US GPS. Although GPS is available for commercial usage, such use is restricted and can be severely limited under US military doctrine.
Corresponding figures for China were difficult to obtain owing to the secrecy enveloping the nation's space programme, and the numbers mentioned in the report were only estimates. While civilian space spending may have totaled $1.5 billion in 2007, figures for military purposes could not be ascertained.
A new facet to The Space Report
For the first time, The Space Report 2008, in a thorough and objective manner, looks at the role of space jobs within the overall US workforce. It uses statistics supplied by federal agencies to compile a very bright picture of the industry, where employment is growing and that the average annual wage is more than double that of the broader private sector. For example, in 2006, US space industry workers were paid an average annual wage of $88,200 versus $42,400 for average private sector employees.
The Space Foundation was founded 21 March, 1983 ''to foster, develop and promote, among the citizens of the United States of America and among other people of the world ... a greater understanding and awareness ... of the practical and theoretical utilization of space ... for the benefit of civilization and the fostering of peaceful and prosperous world.''
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Foundation, celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. In the 24 years since its inception, it has become one of the world's premier nonprofit organizations supporting space activities, space professionals and education. The foundation's education programs have touched teachers in all 50 US states and Germany. It conducts two of the top three conferences for space professionals anywhere in the world today: the National Space Symposium and Strategic Space and Defense.
The 24th National Space Symposium is currently in progress at Colorado while the latest edition of Strategic Space and Defense will be held from 6th to 8th October in Omaha, Nebraska.