Report: Dependence of the European Economy on Space Infrastructures (2017)

Source: Dependence of the European Economy on Space Infrastructures


The use of space-based technologies and systems has, over the years, grown to proportions well beyond those initially imagined at the onset of the space age. Today, the Space Foundation estimates that the global space economy is valued in the order of US$ 314 Billion per year. The sector is identified as a highly strategic sector, and investment in space assets is recognised to result in socio-economic benefits at various levels of the space value chain.

Recently, various studies were undertaken by the European Commission to assess the socio-economic benefits of space:

  • “Space socio-economic benefits” studies in 2013 and 2016.
  • Study measuring the impact of public spending in the space sector on EU GDP in 2014.
  • Socio-economic impacts of Copernicus in 2016.

These studies demonstrated that a substantial proportion of space socio-economic benefits materialize at the level of “users” of space-based services and products. The studies also concluded that these users are widespread in numerous economic sectors (e.g. agriculture, oil & gas, transportation, banking, insurance), and can be public bodies (such as meteorology agencies, emergency services, forestry offices and civil protection departments), businesses (such as vineyards, fishing industry, logistics companies, insurers and oil & gas companies), and households and individuals (such as citizens using services for air pollution alerts, disaster damages public information, localisation-based services or satellite TV).

From a macro-economic perspective, and following the conventional impact assessment approach of space activities applied by the various studies conducted globally, a comprehensive assessment of benefits brought by space assets at the level of “users” with a good level of precision, robustness and exhaustiveness is not achievable. A different approach to the analysis is required.

This study falls within the effort to understand better how the space sector contributes to economic growth and to environmental and social challenges in non-space sectors.

The study addresses the topic from a counterfactual standpoint, to attempt to answer the following question:

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