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Global Space Economy Expands Thanks to Commercial Activity; Job Growth Anticipated

In this artist's drawing, Boeing's commercial crew transport, the CST-100, which is currently in development, approaches the International Space Station. The global space economy is on the rise, according to a new U. S. Space Foundation study. Image Credit/Boeing


The space economy is growing on a global scale, reaching $289.8 billion in 2011, representing a 12 percent rise in commercial revenuees and government budgets over the prior year, 41 percent over the previous five years.

Most of the growth came from the commercial space sector.

The figures come from the U. S. Space Foundation, and the organization’s annual assessment of the worldwide space economy, The Space Report 2012: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity.

The findings were presented at the recently concluded  28th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.

The value of space investments out performed the Standard and Poors 500 and the NASDAG, according to the findings.

Much of the commercial upswing worldwide was driven by consumer demand for Global Positioning System devices and direct to home satellite television.

Meanwhile, global government space budgets reflected a small increase, with great variation from one nation to the next, according to the report.

Russia,India and Brazil increased their space spending by 20 percent. Spending in the U. S. and Japan reflected little change.

While economic times are difficult for many, the report’s findings underscore the value of a career in the space field.

In the U. S., the average annual space industry salary was 15 percent greater than the average salary for the 10 science, technology, engineering and mathematics career fields with the greatest employment.

During 2010, the most recent year for which figures were available, the average annual space industry salary was just under $97,000, more than twice the average U. S.private sector earnings. Those with the highest space earning came from Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, California and Virginia.

However, the The U.S. space workforce declined for the fourth year in a row, dropping 3 percent from 259,996 in 2009 to 252,315 in 2010. The U. S. military space workforce, though, rose to 16,739 in 2011, a 6 percent increase from 2009. Meanwhile, Europe and Japan saw increases in their national space workforces.

The overall demand for aerospace engineers, astronomers and atmospheric scientists is expected to grow in the coming years.

In the U. S. for instance, more than 70 percent of the NASA workforce, is between 40 and 60 years old, with less than 12 percent under age 35. In comparison, less than 45 percent of the overall U.S. workforce is between 40 and 60, according to the report’s outlook.




  • Curtis Davy April 25, 2012

    I think it is obvious that these numbers will continue to rise over the next few years with these private company contracts from NASA. It will be interesting to see how this SpaceX test flight goes in the next month. The success of these companies over the next couple years is going to be extremely crucial for the space industry and our progress in space.