Space Economy Estimates and Forecasts: Caveat Emptor

Here are some key considerations when looking at space economy estimates and forecasts:

Scope and definitions – There is no universally agreed upon definition of the “space economy“, so estimates can vary wildly based on what segments are included (e.g. core space industry vs. secondary space-enabled services). Clear delineations are important.

Data sources – Forecasts draw from disparate sources of varying quality. Some sectors like satellite manufacturing have reliable data, while new or emerging areas like space tourism lack hard numbers. Sources and methodology should be scrutinized.

Uncertainty – Given the nascent nature of many space businesses, forecasts involve lots of assumptions and uncertainty. Ranges and scenarios may be more useful than point estimates.

Time horizons – Space is a long-term undertaking. Forecasts for 5-10 years out are more grounded than those for 20+ years which are highly speculative. Nearer-term projections are easier to relate to.

Periodicity – The space sector changes rapidly, so regular forecast updates are required. Beware outdated projections.

Independence – Forecasts from space industry groups or companies may be biased or overly optimistic. Third-party data providers can offer more objectivity.

Economic factors – Forecasts generally assume continued economic growth and funding. Recessions or spending changes may alter projections.

Disruptive tech – Revolutionary new techs like reusability, smallsats, and low-cost access to space can rapidly shift dynamics. Models must adapt quickly.

Geopolitics – Major power rivalries, trade wars, or conflicts could dampen international cooperation that underpins the space sector.

So while forecasts provide valuable insight into space industry growth potential, they come with plenty of caveats. Readers should examine the assumptions, methodologies and biases underlying any projections.

For more information see this article Introduction to Space Economy Market Reports.

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