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Commercial Activity Fuels Growth in Global Space Economy

The global space economy is surging, and the commercial space sector deserves much of the credit, according to the Space Foundation, the Colorado Springs-based non profit, in its annual report on the sector for 2013.

During 2012, the world’s space sector generated $304.31 billion in private sector and government revenues, up 6.7 percent over the previous 12 months.

The SpaceX Dragon capsule closes in on the International Space Station for the company's second delivery of supplies to the six person orbiting science lab in March. Photo Credit/NASA TV

 

Most of the growth was driven by commercial space activity, the purchase of space products and services and new commercial space infrastructure. Commercial spending on space has grown by 37 percent since 2007, according to the Space Foundation.

Global revenues from commercial space products and services rose by 6.5 percent alone in 2012, while spending on commercial space infrastructure and support industries increased by 11 percent.

Those and other trends are outlined in the Space Foundation publication, The Space Report 2013: The Authoritative Guide to Global space Activity, which was released publicly on Tuesday. Government spending across the globe on space activities rose a meager 1.3 percent in 2012.

Space budgets in Russia, India and Brazil rose by more than 20 percent. However, several European nations experienced declines of 25 percent or more.

The report reveals other industry trends of significance to those who follow the U. S.and its standing in space development. The world’s space faring nations logged 78 launch attempts, down by more than 7 percent from 2011 but greater than in 2010.

Russia claimed the most launch attempts in 2012, 24. China followed with 19, six more than the U. S.  China’s launch total exceeded that of the U. S. for a second year running.

Nonetheless, the U. S.sports the greatest launch vehicle diversity with 10 types of orbital rockets.

Meanwhile,U. S.space work force totals declined for a fifth year in a row, falling to 242,724 in 2011, the most recent 12 month period for which figures are available. The year over year decline equaled 3.8 percent.

However some U. S. space sectors increased, while others fell. Florida, ravaged by the 2011 retirement of NASA’s long running space shuttle program, showed signs of a rebound during 2012, according to the Space Foundation’s assessment. Europe and Japan experienced space workforce growth in 2011.  Japan’s rose by more than 7 percent, eclipsing modest gains in Europe.

The foundation’s full analysis can be purchased for $399.

 

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