ESPI Yearbook 2020 – Monitoring the development of the European space policy in a global context [Dec/2021]
In June 2021, the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) published its annual Yearbook. It provides an examination of the main trends and developments in the space sector, space policy, and space programmes over the past year. Implementing a worldwide scope, but highlighting topics expected to impact the future of the European space sector, the ESPI yearbook aims to showcase Europe’s position within the international space landscape.
The worldwide rise of commercial spaceports, especially with regards to the shift towards reusable rockets, are found among the most disruptive industry trends. Furthermore emphasized is the ongoing transformation of U.S. Human Spaceflight and landing System programmes.
Regarding space policy, the main developments impacting the sector in 2020 are identified to be:
- Completion of the EU Multiannual Financial Framework and space program
- European institutional developments in the space sector
- Defence programmes around the world shift focus towards space
- Artemis programme including signing of the Artemis accord
- The Covid-19 pandemic
Of particular interest for the space economy, ESPI reported 114 orbital launches worldwide, an 11% increase compared to 2019 despite the Covid crisis. With 10 launches, the European launch service provider conducted 10% of total launches in 2020. Note that the European spaceport was shut down for two months, affecting at least half a dozen missions. For the second consecutive year, China conducted the highest number of launches (39), while 36 launches were conducted by the US.
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