Economics

All About the Space Industry

The Space Industry, or Satellite Industry, has transformed every aspect of human civilization on Earth.

5. Description

The "space industry", which is also widely referred to as the "satellite industry", is a sector that deals with the manufacturing of satellites and their sub-systems, as well as ground equipment like VSATs, satellite dishes, mobile terminals, and products necessary for carrying out their launching of operations and services. The space industry is also engaged in heavy research and development activities. These have had a profound impact on improving the lives of millions with their spin-offs in the fields of environmental monitoring, telemedicine, and others. Satellite TV services (DTH/DBS), Satellite Radio, and Satellite Broadband are some of the most popular services offered by the space industry to its consumers today. With 57 countries across the world currently operating at least one satellite, the space industry has witnessed a considerable growth over the last few decades, the culmination of which has seen the industry generate an annual revenue of a staggering $203 billion US dollars in 2014. Currently, the revenue of space industry in the United States alone accounts for annual revenues of approximately $87.2 billion US dollars.

4. Location

The space industry is still primarily concentrated in a handful of countries. Namely, these are the U.S.A., Russia, the European Union, China, India, and Japan. The reason for the stupendous dominance of USA and Russia in the space industry is their strong economic tradition, which faciltates their withstanding of the sheerly massive costs associated with manufacturing, R&D, and launching operations. Their ongoing military projects are also a strong reason behind their dominance, a carryover from the "Cold War" Era's "Space Race". In the U.S., Indian, and Russian space industries, the chief players are those government agencies therein tasked with carrying out space operations. In these countries, the most important of these agencies are NASA, ISRO, and Roscosmos, respectively. Some of the other countries that also now boast of a recognizable space industry are Iran, South Korea, South Africa, Brazil, and Australia.

3. Process

2. History

The space industry started in the 20th century with the manufacturing of the first commercial satellite, "Telstar", by the scientists of the AT&T Bell Laboratories in America. However, it was the Second World War that triggered the rapid development of the space industry, mainly in two countries. These, the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union, soon found themselves in a race to acquire military supremacy and international prestige. Space agencies were founded in both of these countries, and space technology was used for the defense industry. However, after the disintegration of the U.S.S.R., to which Russia constituted largest part, the respective space agencies of the U.S. and Russia increasingly started to focus on the commercialization aspects of the industry. This led to the development of commercial satellites, surveillance satellites, and navigation satellites for civilian purposes. In the 21st Century, the space industry witnessed private players rise to prominence, of which the most notable are the SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Sierra Nevada Corp.

1. Regulations

The space industry is subject to multiple regulations, especially the commercial space industry, across the world in order to ensure safety against collision, accidents, entry of any biological organism from the outer world, and much more. In the U.S., it is the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act that sets many of these standards. China is expecting to bring its own space regulatory laws into play by the end of 2020 and, in Russia, a federal law has been recently signed to govern the Roskosmos State Corporation. Although the space industry in and of itself poses no direct threat to mankind, the rise of private players in the industry and their promises of space travel have raised many eyebrows across the world, because of numerous accidents involving the death of pilots. Furthermore, ever since the industry's beginnings, the threat of space-based military actions have been an ever present fear globally.

More in Economics