Space Economy Value Chain – Canada

The following definitions are from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) report 2020 State of the Canadian Space Sector – Facts and Figures 2019, which was published in 2022.

Canada’s Space Sector

The Canadian space sector is defined as organizations (private, public and academic) whose activities include the development and use of space assets and/or space data.

Space Value-Chain Categories

CSA uses a methodology developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Space Forum (2014 edition), to characterize Canadian space activities on the basis of a value-chain approach.

Under this value-chain approach, data are organized into categories that align with the stages of producing space goods and services: Research, Engineering and Consulting; Space Segment Manufacturing; Ground Segment Manufacturing; Satellite Operations; Products and Applications; and Services.

Upstream Segment

The upstream segment refers to the effort required to design, test, build, integrate, and launch assets into space.

Note that launch-related activities do not represent a significant area of activity in the Canadian space sector, which is why it is not currently included as a separate value-chain category. Launch-related activities include the building and integration of space transportation vehicles (rockets), launch pads, spaceports and related technologies, as well as launch service

Research, Engineering and Consulting: Research and development (R&D) related to non-commercial or pre-commercial activities; applied science; design and testing of spacecraft, satellites and payloads or components thereof; support services directed at enabling other space sector actors throughout the value chain, including outreach activities, legal services, insurance provision, market research, policy and management services.

Space Segment Manufacturing: Building and integration of spacecraft, satellites, payloads or any component thereof.

Ground Segment Manufacturing: Building and integration of facilities and equipment on Earth for satellite operations, often known as “ground stations.”

Downstream Segment

The downstream segment refers to the effort required for the day-to-day operation of space assets, manufacturing of products and software applications that transform space data and signals into useful end products, and services provided to end-users.

Satellite Operations: Day-to-day management of satellites and spacecraft once they are in space, e.g. telemetry, tracking and command; monitoring, recovery operations and collision avoidance; mission planning for satellite passes; uplinks and downlinks for signal processing to reception facility; lease or sale of satellite capacity.

Products and Applications: Manufacturing/ development of software or hardware that enable the transformation of space-derived resources into a usable/ useful format, e.g. computer software applications, chipsets, Very Small Aperture Terminals and other terminals, antennas, satellite phones, video and audio receivers-decoders, and GPS devices. This category also includes publishing digital or print books, atlases and maps using space-based data.

Services: Provision of services which are dependent on space-based signals or data to various end-users (individual consumers, government departments, or businesses), e.g. subscriptions to satellite radio, phone, television or Internet services; engineering, architectural and environmental consulting based on the processing and analysis of Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) or Earth Observation (EO) data; support services provided to users of space-based products and applications, such as provision of computer consulting and facilities management, data processing, Web hosting and portals, and streaming services.

Sectors of Activity

The activities of space organizations can also be broken down according to the ultimate use or purpose of the research carried out or the goods and services produced. Space sector activities can serve commercial, civil or military purposes, and refer to activities across the value chain:

Navigation: The development and use of satellites for localization, positioning and timing services. Navigation is used for air, maritime and land transport, or the localization of individuals and vehicles. It also provides a universal referential time and location standard for a number of systems.

Satellite Communication: The development and use of satellites to send signals to Earth for the purpose of fixed or mobile telecommunications services (voice, data, Internet, and multimedia) and broadcasting (TV and radio services, video services, Internet content).

Earth Observation (EO): The development and use of satellites to measure and monitor Earth (including its climate, environment and people) for a number of purposes such as resource management, mineral exploration, disaster assessment, security and defence.

Space Exploration: The development and use of crewed and uncrewed spacecraft (space stations, rovers and probes) to investigate the reaches of the universe beyond Earth’s atmosphere (e.g. the Moon, other planets, asteroids). The International Space Station and astronaut-related activities are considered in this sector.

Space Science: The various science fields that relate to space flight or any phenomena occurring in space or on other planets (e.g. astrophysics, planetary science, space-related life science).

Other: Generic technologies or components that are not destined for use on a specific space system or for a specific space application. This could be the case for early-phase research, small off-the-shelf components used in various systems, or services based on integrated applications.