Global Spending on Space Decreases for First Time in 20 Years

22 new emerging space nations to invest in industry projects over next decade

Paris, Montreal, Washington D.C., February 13, 2014 – According to Euroconsult's newly released research report, Profiles of Government Space Programs, global budgets for space programs dropped to $72.1 billion in 2013 following peak spending at $72.9 billion in 2012. This is the first time since 1995 that public space programs worldwide have entered a downward trend, a direct result of the cyclical nature of countries' investment in space-based infrastructures combined with governments' belt-tightening efforts during tough economic times.

  • Commercial supply is also expected to go through a significant expansion, both from private sector initiatives (the expansion of fleets, and new entrants) and government commercialization of proprietary systems. New entrants such as Skybox Imaging have launched their first satellites, and others, particularly in the domain of commercial meteorology and environment monitoring solutions, could follow suit in the next decade. "With this expansion in commercial supply, differentiating positions of the operators will come to the fore, with trade-offs in ground resolution, revisit, geolocation accuracy, and data prices," said Adam Keith, Director of Space & Earth Observation at Euroconsult and editor of the report. "Nevertheless, competition is increasing and with new entrants possibly pricing data and solutions very competitively, there is the potential for disruption in the market."

  • "Nevertheless, the current global context for public space programs shows many positive signs brought by new leading space nations and an ever-growing number of countries who have initiated plans to build up their space-based capabilities. We anticipate government space spending to recover in the second part of the decade in many countries currently experiencing intense budget pressure," said Steve Bochinger, COO at Euroconsult and Editor of the report.

    The report highlights that in a period of budget tension many countries develop innovative mechanisms to implement their space programs notably calling for wider private sector involvement including in areas until now reserved for government initiatives. This transforming relationship between public agencies and the private sector shall have long lasting effects in the way governments conceive their space programs and industry contractors structure their government business.

    In 2013, 58 countries invested $10 million or more in space applications and technologies, compared to 53 in 2011 and 37 in 2003. 22 more countries have been identified with plans for space investment:

  • The US invested $38.7 billion in its space program (civil and defense) in 2013 confirming the downward trend initiated since the start of the decade. This is an $8.8 billion reduction compared to the peak spending of $47.5 billion in 2009.
  • Russia recorded a massive increase of its public investment in space and is the only country after the US to pass the $10 billion cap. In the last five years, Russia's investments have accelerated at an impressive average growth of 32% in local currency.

    Another six countries invested over $1 billion: Japan, China, France, Germany, Italy and India, as well as the European Union. China's 8th place ranking for space spending as a ratio of its GDP indicates there is room for investment growth in the future.

  • 19 countries recorded over $100 million in spending: the UK, Canada, Brazil, Spain, South Korea, Belgium, Kazakhstan, the UAE, Argentina, Mexico, Australia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey, Sweden, Israel, Nigeria, Iran, and Norway.
  • 30 other countries invested between $10 million and $100 million in their national space programs; only 10 of them were part of that list in 2003.
  • "Interestingly, we see a period of transition in many national programs which is reflected in their investment profile. This is also true in emerging countries that have been a key market driver for the space industry. After first or second-generation launches, these emerging space nations now need to decide on stable, longer-term spending. Similarly, there is a new 'third wave' of potential space nations, but commitments seem slower to materialize," concluded Bochinger.

    About the Report

    Profiles of Government Space Programs is the only complete assessment of public space programs. The report, published since 1994, is a comprehensive review of all 80+ active space programs around the world, including leading countries and organizations, emerging programs, defense and civil agencies. Each program is analyzed and assessed by the same criteria, through extensive qualitative and quantitative information and analysis, including current and future policies, budgets and programs.