The Impact of Space on Job Creation and Economic Prosperity on Earth

Space Economy: Revealing the Hidden Prosperity of Earth

In today’s interconnected world, the role of space extends beyond the realm of astronauts and rocket launches. From managing climate change to responding to emergencies and even digitalizing the economy, space has become increasingly important to life on Earth. Recognizing the need for reliable and timely statistics on the space economy, the European Space Agency (ESA) has partnered with international organizations to create robust and accurate data. These efforts aim to shed light on the full extent of the space economy and enable policymakers and economists to understand how space creates prosperity on our planet.

The ESA has collaborated with esteemed institutions such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Commission’s Eurostat and Joint Research Centre, and the US Department of Commerce and its Bureau of Economic Analysis. Together, they have embarked on an ambitious venture to develop statistical codes that will uncover the hidden contributions of space to economic growth. By employing these codes, economists can identify the various ways in which space influences prosperity on Earth.

The space economy encompasses not only traditional elements like launchers, spacecraft, and satellites but also extends to space-derived products and services. Satellite communications and navigation systems serve as vital components that underpin many economies, connecting people and devices around the globe. The impact of the space economy is not limited to direct contributions, such as mining metals for satellite construction. It also encompasses indirect contributions, such as providing connectivity in remote regions and empowering people to stay connected. Additionally, the space economy reaches unexpected domains, influencing sectors like medicine, health, environmental monitoring, farming, transport, and manufacturing. Space innovations have found their way into these industries, revolutionizing practices and generating economic value.

The introduction of statistical codes will enable economists to discern the value added by specific elements within the space economy. For example, by isolating the creation of an electronic chip that incorporates Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system into mobile phones or cars, economists can evaluate its contribution independently of the overall value of the device or vehicle. This level of granularity brings new insights into the economic impact of space-related activities.

The comprehensive set of statistical codes covers a wide array of areas, including manufactured goods, information and communication services, professional and technical services, construction, public administrative and defense services, education, transport and storage, financial and insurance services, as well as arts, entertainment, and recreational services. By categorizing these sectors within the space economy, economists can accurately assess the overall impact and potential for growth.

This groundbreaking work builds upon previous initiatives, notably the US Bureau of Economic Analysis’ attempt to develop a set of accounts for the American space economy in 2020. Additionally, a two-year cooperation project between ESA, Eurostat, and the Joint Research Centre has laid the foundation for this endeavor. The collaborative effort encompasses three essential strands: defining the space economy for statistical purposes in a globally consistent manner, developing a methodology for constructing the European space economy at both national and aggregated European levels, and refining and testing the results. The ongoing work promises to yield valuable insights that will be published in due course.

As the world increasingly relies on space-related technologies and services, understanding the economic impact of the space economy becomes crucial for governments and businesses alike. The efforts led by ESA and its international partners provide a solid foundation for informed decision-making in investment and policy development. By establishing a comprehensive framework and unveiling the true extent of space’s contribution to prosperity on Earth, this scientific endeavor sets the stage for a more sustainable and prosperous future.