The Space Economy Initiative

Supporting healthy, responsible, and sustainable growth of the global space economy. 

21 April 2021 UPDATE

Space technology is the driving force behind services and products that have become indispensable in our daily life. Earth Observation, Global Navigation Satellite Systems and satellite communications have played a key role in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.  

On 5 May, UNOOSA launches a new series of virtual events dedicated to Space for the Great Reset. The first event " Boosting Sustainable Economic Growth for a resilient COVID-19 recovery" will take place on 5 May, 18:30 CEST.

Speakers include:

  • Simonetta Di Pippo, UNOOSA Director
  • Aarti Holla, ESOA Secretary General
  • Nick Shave, UKSpace Chair
  • Abimbola Alale, NIGCOMSAT CEO
  • Mohamed Al Aseeri, Bahrain National Space Science Agency CEO 

Register here to participate!

The COVID-19 crisis represents an opportunity to re-think our future, identify and act on those priorities that will help us bringing forward sustainability, equality and innovation. 

The Great Reset Initiative of the World Economic Forum embraces this philosophy with the aim to advance shared goals and improve the state of the world. Space is a rapidly growing economic sector in its own right. What is being increasingly understood is the enabling role space plays for growth in a huge range of other sectors. As the world builds back better, maximizing both the direct and indirect contribution that a strong domestic space sector can make to socio-economic development goes to the heart of the Space for the Great Reset event series.  

Space is a crucial element to support the economic recovery and will remain an extremely decisive element in the post-COVID world. All attempts to reset and shape a better future must embrace the value of space to ensure that we can really build more equal, inclusive, and sustainable societies.   

Through a series of virtual events, UNOOSA will examine the crucial role that space plays in the Great Reset. The series will see experts providing their insights on three topics: Economic Growth, Climate Action and Access to Space.  

1. Space for the Great Reset: Boosting Sustainable Economic Growth  for a resilient COVID-19 recovery,   5 May, 18:30 CEST. Register  here! The event is organized in the context of the United Nations Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals.

2. Space for the Great Reset: Harnessing the Power of Space Technology for Climate Action (date TBC)  

3. Space for the Great Reset: Towards a fair, responsible and sustainable Access to Space  (date TBC)  

More information available here.

30 January 2021 UPDATE

The Space Economy 2020 Outcome Report, published in January 2021, provides an overview of all UNOOSA Space Economy 2020 virtual events.

From June to September 2020, UNOOSA started the first space economy awareness-raising activities by organizing a series of seven virtual events. These have been fundamental to bringing established and emerging space economy practitioners together in an equal and inclusive setting. Through the series, the subject of 'space economy' was broken down into core elements: building public support for space activities; how to scale up; accessing finance; international cooperation; the nexus between government, industry, and academia; and space economy in the COVID-19 context. The 2020 Outcome Report provides an overview of all these topics and includes the insights shared by international and national experts. Thanks to the engagement of these experts and over 1,500 participants, the launch of the Space Economy Initiative was truly successful.

As we look to 2021, we are making plans to scale up the Space Economy Initiative. In this next stage, we plan to develop space economy capacity-building services for the Member States, both through direct advisory services and the development of online e-learning materials. This document provides more information on our next steps for 2021.

In this context, we look forward to continuing working with stakeholders who are interested in deepening the relationship with the United Nations on space economy matters and support the scaling up of these activities going forward.

Introducing the Initiative

The global space sector is thriving. Over 65 countries have operated at least one satellite. Political and economic capital being invested in the space environment by governments and commercial entities is at record levels.

With an increasing number of public and private actors involved in the development and provision of space infrastructure and related products and services, the global space economy has been a consistent source of growth, exceeding $400 billion for the first time in 2018.

Space economy has featured regularly in the work of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). It is a term to capture the economic benefits of a dynamic space sector and the role space can play in prosperous socio-economic development.

While most space economy activities originate from space-faring countries, emerging space-faring nations do not benefit as much as they could from this area. By leveraging on its experience supporting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, UNOOSA works to bring the international space community together in support of emerging space-faring nations to take part in the global space economy responsibly and sustainably.

As we look to the future, with many countries considering how to 'build back better', it is clear that healthy, dynamic space economies can play a huge role in accelerating sustainable socio-economic development. 

The Space Economy initiative unpacks this complex topic, breaking down the issue to core elements, providing a road map on how to build a strong space economy that delivers tangible socio-economic benefits. 

Space Economy Webinar Series

A series of webinars focused on the "Space Economy" explores these issues in more detail. Throughout the series, we draw on public and private-sector experts to help us unpack how different countries are strengthening their respective space sectors. Across the series, we focus on the most fundamental elements of a healthy, responsible, and sustainable space economy.

The webinar series provides a platform to share insights from commercial space entities on how to go from the 'start-up' phase to being well-established. Further, we also look at financing space activities, exploring success stories on how mixed public-private funding models are helping space economies thrive. The series touches upon the nexus between government, industry and academia, and how to leverage this nexus to maximise innovation and growth in the space economy.

Finally, we also look at what this all means outside the immediate domestic context and the link between growing space economies at the national level and supporting responsible and sustainable space activities at the international level.

All these considerations are taken in the context of current global developments, including with regards to how space economies can play a key role in responses to COVID-19 and supporting socio-economic development as countries seek to 'build-back-better'.

All sessions

Session One: Introducing the Space Economy, June 15

The first webinar gathered representatives from the UAE Space Agency, GISTDA, Thailand, SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy, PricewaterhouseCoopers' Space Practice, Paris, France, Astroscale, Japan and UNOOSA's Space Applications Section. This kick-off event introduced the space economy topic and looked forward to topic-specific follow up webinars.

The Insight Report of the experiences shared during the webinar can be downloaded here.

The Recording of the Kick-Off Webinar is on UNOOSA's YouTube channel here and the Agenda for the session can be found here.  

Slides used by the experts during the kick-off webinar are available for download on the links below :

Session Two: Making the Case for Space, July 6

The second session saw experts from Space in Africa, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (part of the Dept. of Commerce) and Azercosmos join us to share insights on how to build strong foundations and baselines for supporting strong space economies. 

The  agenda for the session, including details about the speakers, can be found  here.

The recording of the session is here. The  Insight Report of the experiences shared during the webinar can be downloaded  here.

Slides used by the experts are below and the session's Insight Report is available for download here

Session Three: How to Scale-Up, July 24

The third session saw experts from the European Commission, MzansiSat, Dipteron and the Space4Impact Initiative join us to share insights on how to take space entities from the scale-up to the established phase.

The recording of the session is here and the Insight Report is here.

The  agenda for the session is  here.

Expert speakers, including their presentations

Session Four: Access to Finance, August 5

The fourth session saw experts from Bryce Space and Technology, the Australian Financial Security Authority and the European Investment Bank join us to share insights on the financial landscape and how to build and develop financial systems for a sustainable growth of the sector.

The recording of the session is here and the Insight Report can be downloaded here.

The  agenda for the session is  here.

Expert speakers, including their presentations:

Session Five: International cooperation to grow responsible and sustainable space activities, August 24

The fifth session saw experts from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of  Costa Rica and the Angolan National Space Programme Management Office sharing their insights about international cooperation to build sustainable space economies.

The recording of the session is available here. The insight report is here.

 The agenda of the session is here

Expert speakers, including their presentations:

Session Six: Innovation and Growth: Government, Industry and Academia working together to grow your space economy, 9 September

The sixth session saw experts from Surrey Satellite Technology, Bocconi University, the Indonesian Space Agency and the China Space Foundation who delivered their perspectives on the current cooperative landscape between academia, governments and the commercial space sector.

The recording of the session is available  here. The insight report is here.

The  agenda of the session is  here.

Expert speakers, including their presentations:

 

Session Seven: Building Back Better: How a healthy space economy can support post-COVID 19 recoveries, September 23

The 7th session saw experts sharing their insights in the context of current global developments with regards to how space economies can play a key role in responses to COVID-19 and supporting socio-economic development as countries seek to 'build-back-better'.

Relevant material will be uploaded soon. 

The  recording of the session is available  here. The insight report is  here.

Expert speakers:

Webinar Session Schedule  

  • June 15 - Kick-Off Session: Introducing the Space Economy
  • July 6 - Making the Case for Space: Baselines for building support for space economic growth.
  • July 24 - How to scale-up: From start-up to established 
  • August 5 -  Access to Finance: Building a sustainable financial system for space economies.
  • August 24 -  International Cooperation: International normative frameworks in domestic contexts, responsible and sustainable growth.
  • September 9 -  Innovation and Growth: Government, Industry and Academia working together to grow your space economy. 
  • September 23 -  Building Back Better: How a healthy space economy can support post-COVID 19 recoveries.

All scheduled at 15:00 - 16:00 Central European Time

Supporting the Space Economy Initiative

The Space Economy Initiative supports healthy space economies, in both theory and practice. Going forward UNOOSA is compiling a Handbook of insights, success stories and examples of space economy growth in practice. The Handbook will cover the core elements of building a healthy, sustainable and dynamic space economy and will guide UNOOSA's future activities in this area.

The Space Economy Initiative is funded entirely through the generous contributions from our stakeholders. Donor support is crucial to realizing the initiative going forward.

We are fundraising to support the start of UNOOSA advisory services to Member States on space economy matters from 2021. If you're interested in supporting the global growth of responsible, sustainable and dynamic space economies, that accelerate sustainable socio-economic development, then please get in touch.

  • Veronica Cesco, Associate Programme Officer, UNOOSA  veronica.cesco (at) un.org
  • Ian Freeman, Associate Programme Officer, UNOOSA ian.freeman (at) un.org 

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