Research & Analysis

Policymakers, the media, educators and space enthusiasts depend upon the Space Foundation for credible information and analysis of the forces that influence the space industry.

The Space Report Reveals Continued Industry Growth

The 2012 edition of Space Foundation's flagship publication, The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity, revealed that the global space economy grew to $289.77 billion in 2011, reflecting a robust single-year expansion of 12.2 percent and five-year growth of 41 percent in a global economy that has been suppressed in many other sectors. Key points covered in The Space Report include:

  • Commercial segments of the global space economy were the primary growth engine.
  • Commercial space stocks out-performed the marketplace.
  • Overall governmental space spending grew by 6 percent globally, but changes varied significantly by country; India, Russia and Brazil each increased government space spending by more than 20 percent and other nations, including the United States and Japan, saw little change.
  • In 2011, there were 84 launches, 14 percent more than 2010; Russia led with 31, China had 19 and the U.S. had 18, marking the first time that Chinese launches exceeded those of the United States.
  • At the end of 2011, there were an estimated 994 active satellites in orbit around the Earth.
  • Among the top 25 fixed satellite services operators by revenue, only one is based in the U.S. 
  • The U.S. space workforce declined for the fourth year in a row, dropping 3 percent to the second-lowest employment level recorded during the previous ten years; Europe and Japan saw increases in their space workforces.
  • The U.S. military space workforce rose 6 percent; with Air Force space up 8 percent and the Navy down 5 percent.
  • Average annual space industry salaries were 15 percent more than the average salary for the ten STEM careers that employ the largest number of people in the U.S.



Pioneering Recommended for NASA Direction

We released PIONEERING: Sustaining U.S. Leadership in Space, our much-anticipated recommendations for the future of NASA and the U.S. civil space program, at an event in Washington, D.C., in December. The briefing, which featured remarks by Vice President - Washington Operations Brendan Curry and CEO Elliot Pulham, was attended by 60 industry and government representatives and reporters, including representatives of national space programs. The 70-page report provides measures for strengthening the U.S. civil space program, improving NASA performance and increasing returns on taxpayer investment in space. Details on the content can be found on in this annual report or here.

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