2008 Global Space Spending At Record $62 Billion
Global space spending hit a record $62 billion this year and will rise 4.5 percent annually to reach $70 billion in 2012, a European firm estimates.
The report predicts outlays are likely to continue at a strong pace, as a projected 610 government satellites will be launched to orbit in the next decade, a 38 percent increase over this decade.
Euroconsult, a research and consulting firm focusing on satellites, included the estimates in a report titled "Government Space Markets, World Prospects to 2017" that said governments have entered a new phase of investment, committing to a new generation of programs.
More nations are going orbital, with some 40 nations having space programs this year, double the number a decade ago, the report continues.
Dual-use funding and public-private programs are more frequent,
And China and India have stepped forward as major players in space, "targeting applications including space science and manned spaceflight once reserved to the established government space programs," the report stated.
In years ahead, "they could contribute significantly to new capabilities in space exploration," the report predicted.
And other nations are moving from initial low-budget programs such as Earth observation to more challenging programs such as satellite communications, the report continued.
"Countries such as Nigeria and Thailand were among the first to do so, and other countries such as Venezuela and Angola are following suit," the report noted
While the global economic recession may tend to cause some nations to cut space spending, it has long been true that space spending is less influenced by economic cycles and more by long-term strategic national objectives, according to the report.
Further, precisely because the economy is weak, some nations or space agencies may be prompted to continue or increase spending on space programs, which provide excellent jobs.