According to Euroconsult's newly released report, Government Space Programs: Strategic Outlook, Benchmarks & Forecasts, a new growth cycle in government space spending is expected to start and average 2.1% over the next ten years worldwide, reaching $81.4 billion by 2024.
"Despite budget cuts, governments should maintain high launch rates over the next decade: 856 government satellites are planned for launch between 2015 and 2024, a 32% increase from the last decade, driven by civil Earth observation, communications and satellite navigation missions," said Steve Bochinger, COO at Euroconsult and editor of the report. "242 defense satellites are expected to be launched over the next 10 years, an 11% increase compared to the past of which 40% will be launched for the U.S. government."
The report assesses key economic and program trends for each major space application, which include:
- Earth observation programs received $10.9 billion in 2014, becoming the first application area after eight years of continuous growth driven by the combined investments of 52 countries.
- Manned spaceflight comes second with $10.8 billion in 2014, invested by only seven countries plus the European Space Agency. Budgets stabilized over recent years as the ISS program transitioned from development to exploitation phase.
- The development of launch vehicles has received $7.4 billion, growing at an average of 9% over the past ten years driven by investments required for next-generation launchers. Due to the high and long-term development costs, launchers can represent between 15% to 50% of an agency's budget.
- Satellite communications programs totaled $5.9 billion in 2014, decreasing by 37% compared to 2010 essentially due to the cyclicality of the U.S. DoD's procurement. Civil programs are currently driving expenditures, with 51 countries investing in satcom programs and 62 expected by 2024.
- Space science and exploration is estimated at $5.9 billion and is expected to reach $8.6 billion in 2024, i.e. a 3.4% CAGR driven by ambitious plans in Russia and Asia and a sustained high level of investment in the U.S.
Satellite navigation reached $4.5 billion with only five countries, plus the European Union, investing in the development of costly systems. Funding is expected to remain at the current high levels until 2024 to support systems' deployment, with 124 spacecraft to be launched over the next ten years.
Space security programs received $2 billion in 2014, with the U.S. accounting for two thirds of the expenditure. Security remains under the remit of the top 10 leading space nations, a situation which is not expected to change in the future.
"The international landscape is experiencing profound mutations with a diversification of countries investing in space; the number of countries investing over $10 million in space activities has grown from 38 in 2005 to 58 in 2014," continued Bochinger. "International suppliers are competing fiercely for these business opportunities, with China currently accounting for 28% of communications satellites ordered by emerging programs, and Europe for 54% of Earth observation satellites."