CI&E News

Is the Space Industry Growing?

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

The space industry is not only growing, but it’s growing at an exponential rate. The value of the global space economy rose to $447B in 2020 — 55% higher than a decade ago, and part of a five-year trend of uninterrupted growth.[1]

[1] The Space Report 2021 Q2 Edition

The world’s fascination with space is spurring investment and launching more spacecraft into orbit. Six of the most powerful telescopes ever imagined will launch in this decade, bringing new insights into deep space as well as exciting new technologies that will benefit life on Earth.

It’s no wonder that space industry experts and economists are heralding the advent of a New Space Age.

But the skyrocketing growth of the space industry looks different this time around.

The first Space Age saw two nations as the primary drivers of space exploration. Today there are 85 nations operating in space, with a 5% increase year over year.[2]

[2] The Space Report 2021 Q2 Edition

 And while government space agencies are still major players in the global space economy, it is the commercial space sector that has investors and business leaders pricking up their ears.

This article will explore the following areas of space industry growth:

  • What is the outlook of the global space economy?
  • How much are civil governments, militaries and commercial businesses investing in space? What are the space industry growth trends?
  • What is the value of investments going into space-inspired industries?

Space Industry Growth by Market and Sector

Government vs. Commercial

Global governments spent $90.2B on space activities in 2020, with 58% of that total attributed to the United States.[3]

[3] The Space Report 2021 Q2 Edition

China and the European Space Agency (ESA) rounded out the top three investors in the global space economy. Japan increased its space budget by 3% in 2020, and France by more than 40%.

But it’s the commercial sector where the bigger story of space industry growth is playing out.

Commercial space activity grew 6.6% to nearly $357B in 2020—close to 80% of the total space economy.[4]

[4] The Space Report 2021 Q2 Edition

 The past two years have seen a huge jump in commercial spacecraft, due in large part to SpaceX constellations. The world watched with rapt attention as Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin launched (literally) a new era of private commercial spaceflight in July 2021.

While human spaceflight generates the most buzz from the public and investors, it isn’t the only area of growth in the commercial space industry:

  • The Commercial Infrastructure and Support Industries sector—which includes human spaceflight, on-orbit satellite servicing, and ground stations and equipment—grew a staggering 16.4% from 2019 to 2020. 
    • Ground stations and equipment, valued at $118.45B, made up more than 86% of this sector. 
  • The Commercial Space Products and Services sector saw only slight growth in 2020 but is still the larger of the two sectors at $219.44B.

Growth of Spacecraft Value by Market

Manufacturing revenue associated with commercial payloads increased 134% from 2017 to 2020. Human spaceflight increased 14% over the same period, while revenue for military spacecraft grew 10%.[5]

[5] Eurospace

Spacecraft Value by Market, 2017-2020

Source: Eurospace

Growth of Space Industry Investment Activity

Near-record investment activity demonstrates confidence in the continued growth of the space industry. Space sector equity financing activity rose to $9.8B in Q3 2021 — a 48% increase over Q3 2020.[6]

[6] Quilty Analytics

This follows an all-time high in Q2 2021.

Not only are investors investing more overall, but they are also investing more per transaction. According to Quality Analytics, there has been a 200% increase in the average value of the 10 largest transactions examined in the last four years. The maximum transaction value has jumped more than 300% since 2018.

Top 10 Equity Financings

Note: Table includes only satellite and space companies that announced venture-like financings.
Source: Quilty Analytics

If you want to get in on the growth of the space industry, there’s no better time.

Is the space industry growing? Yes. And if that has you wondering how you can take part, Center for Innovation and Education has resources for you. 

For anyone interested in space industry growth, The Space Report, published quarterly, is an excellent resource to keep up with trends and opportunities.

There is a place for everyone in the growing space industry, and there has never been a better time to take part.