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Govt spending on space programmes to decline: Euroconsult

Paris, France: Euroconsult, an international consulting and research firm specialising in the space and satellite sectors, announced the findings of its just-published report “Government Space Markets, World Prospects to 2020.” According to the report, government spending on space hit a number of major milestones in recent years, including a historic peak in combined government spending of USD 71.5 billion in 2010. However, after 10 years of spending increases across the globe, this trend is about to come to a halt. According to Euroconsult, public space programme financing will slow dramatically in the next five years due to several factors.

“Government investments in many space applications are cyclical, particularly when related to the procurement of operational systems,” said Steve Bochinger, President of Euroconsult North America. “Defence procurement, which has driven budget growth for a decade — particularly in the United States — is a typical example. Furthermore, following stimulus funding allocated to space projects to support national economies and innovation, most governments have returned to more stringent budget spending. This has already resulted in cutting non-priority budget items and, potentially, space programmes.”

According to the report, overall growth in civil programme expenditures will be sustained – albeit at more moderate growth rates. Leading programmes such as those in the United States, Europe, and Japan are expected to see continuing budget pressure. In Russia and countries reaching ‘space maturity’ (e.g., China and India), space expenditures will continue to grow, though more modestly than in the past.

Defence space programmes are expected to be influenced by military agency procurement cycles as well as the completion of most programmes currently under development, especially in the US. Developing initiatives in other countries (such as Australia, Canada, and emerging countries) are expected to open the door to other commercial opportunities for the commercial space industry, the Euroconsult report indicates.

A total of 692 satellites will be launched by governments in the coming decade, up 43 percent from the previous decade. This is a direct reflection of the increasing number of new space-capable countries across the globe. Civil agencies will launch roughly 75 percent of these satellites, a significant increase compared to the last decade during which they accounted for 67 percent of all government satellites launched.

Applications that drove overall spending increases in 2010 included manned spaceflight, SatCom, and Earth observation. Government spending on space security, satellite navigation (SatNav), science and exploration, and access to space declined. Some of the findings include:

– SatCom grew by 49 percent in 2010 to reach USD 8.4 billion.
– Manned spaceflight spending totalled USD 11.6 billion in 2010.
– Earth observation reached USD 8 billion and spending will continue to be driven by defence, climate change and the growing participation of emerging space nations in Earth observation, with spending likely to exceed the USD 9.5 billion mark by 2015.
– Science and exploration budgets totalled USD 5.6 billion in 2010.
– Access to space (launch capability) investments reached USD 4.6 billion in 2010.
– SatNav spending totalled USD 2.9 billion.
– Space security budgets fell to USD 1.7 billion.

Source: Euroconsult