Space Economy Activities

About Space Economy at ESA

The European Space Agency is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to support the competiveness of European industry and deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. For this purpose, ESA has been measuring the impact of its activities and programmes since the nineties, gathering best practices from the experience of its Member States. It has favoured the adoption of robust and standardised methodologies to obtain consistent measures of the impact of its programmes.

As part of ESA’s Directorate for Industrial Policy, Procurement and Legal affairs, the Space Economy team seeks to:

  • Promote the exchange of best practices on space economy and harmonisation of approaches among its stakeholders;
  • Measure the space economy;
  • Assess the impact of public investments in space activities, and in particular of ESA’s programmes, on the European economy and society;
  • Support the further integration of space into the economy and society.

The Space economy team is coordinating and harmonising ESA’s efforts to assess the socio-economy impact of its programmes, especially in support of programme proposals to be submitted for decisions at the Council Meetings at Ministerial Level.

The team also ensures the secretariat of the ESA Space Economy Steering Committee. This committee of national experts advises and assists the Executive in the identification of Member State priorities in terms of areas to be assessed and measured in support of their national resources allocation processes. By providing a forum for discussion and exchange of information, the Steering Group helps those within ESA and the ESA Member States Delegations to learn more about the space sector worldwide, while investigating the socio-economic significance of space infrastructure and the potential impacts for the larger economy. In particular, the ESA Space Economy Steering Group favours the sharing of best practises, methodologies and lessons learnt based on the experience of its members.

In addition, the Space economy team is also the official ESA point of contact for other national and international institutions in charge of measuring the space economy (e.g the OECD Space Forum), as well as with industry associations, thus contributing to the development of a community of experts in this domain at European level.

The team prepares the “Report on the Space Economy” to support the preparation of ESA Council Meetings at Ministerial Level, which includes key figures on the space economy, national analyses of the socio-economic impact of space activities from ESA Member States and the results of the socio-economic impact assessments of ESA programmes.

ESA aims to provide evidence and transparency to Member States about the effectiveness of the Agency to secure return on investment through ex-post impact studies, but also through ex-ante assessments of the projected socio-economic value of proposals submitted to the Ministers for decision. ESA’s goal is to include these tools in the Executive’s decision and managerial processes. Strengthening this capability in the future will be an enabler to pilot and steer European industry and scientific R&D activities to respond to societal needs and to maximise their value and impact on society.

Lastly, through the organisation of events such as the Global Space Economic Workshops and Forums, the Space economy team seeks to support spin-in innovation and the development and broadening of the European space industry, as well as the further integration of space in the economy and society, through the development of a broad community of innovators and new partnerships and industrial projects.