Global Space Economy

The Emergence of the Global Space Economy


The commercial space industry has grown significantly over the past decade and is poised to become a major driver of the global economy. Private companies are increasingly investing in space initiatives that were previously only pursued by government space agencies. This emerging space economy has the potential to create new high-tech jobs and entirely new industries.

Growth of the Commercial Space Sector

Private space companies have seen tremendous growth as technology has advanced and the costs of access to space have declined. Companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic are leading the new commercial space race, making launches more affordable and routine. In 2020, private investments in space startups reached over $5 billion, up from just $300 million a decade ago. More venture capital and private equity are flowing into the sector as its possibilities become clearer.

Suborbital Space Tourism Takes Off

One of the first Space Economy industries to emerge is suborbital space tourism. Companies like Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are developing technology to take paying customers on brief trips to the edge of space, experiencing a few minutes of weightlessness. Virgin Galactic has already taken founder Richard Branson to space in 2021 and began commercial service in 2022. Blue Origin flew its first crew, including founder Jeff Bezos, to space in 2021 as well. As ticket prices become more affordable, space tourism could become a multi-billion dollar industry within the next decade.

satellite internet provides more access. Satellite companies like SpaceX’s Starlink and Amazon’s Kuiper project are deploying massive constellations of low earth orbit satellites to beam internet connectivity anywhere on the globe. This could help close the digital divide and bring high-speed internet to remote and underserved areas. The satellite internet market is projected to be worth over $40 billion annually by 2030.

Launch Services Drive Down Costs

Lowering the costs of access to space through reusable launch vehicles is key to enabling all of these emerging commercial space sectors. SpaceX has successfully reused and recovered rocket boosters, cutting the costs of launches drastically. Its Falcon 9 rocket, which can be reflown, has enabled more satellite deployments than any other active rocket. SpaceX also recovered capsule parts from multiple Crew Dragon missions to the International Space Station. Achieving fully and rapidly reusable rockets is the final hurdle to truly establishing regular and affordable spaceflight. As costs continue to decline, the addressable market for satellite broadband, space tourism, and other industries will expand rapidly.

Satellite Applications Grow New Verticals

Beyond connectivity and tourism, satellites are enabling new verticals in agriculture, environmental monitoring, and more. Companies are launching constellations of smallsats equipped with sensors to monitor crop health, spot natural disasters, and more. This data fuels AI and analytics services helping industries adapt to climate change, manage resources sustainably, and boost agricultural yields.

The availability of low-cost launch has also spurred second-generation satellite mega-constellations for communications. OneWeb, owned by the UK government and India’s Bharti Global, aims to provide global internet connectivity through a planned 650-satellite constellation, while Amazon plans to deploy over 3,000 satellites through Project Kuiper. As these constellations and their applications scale, they could enable billions of dollars in new economic activity.

The Next Frontier of Space Resources

Longer term, the potential extraction of resources from asteroids and other planetary bodies could unlock vast new industries. Companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries plan to prospect and mine precious metals from near-Earth objects. These resources, if retrieved and returned to Low Earth Orbit or beyond, could fuel in-space manufacturing, greatly reducing launch costs for missions to Mars and beyond. Mining Helium-3 on the lunar surface for potential nuclear fusion energy on Earth offers another game-changing possibility. While asteroid and planetary mining remains an ambitious long shot, the emergence of new commercial launch capabilities has made these science fiction dreams seem realistic within our lifetimes.

The Emergence of Lunar Industries

As a stepping stone to deeper space exploration, the moon itself will become a proving ground and launching pad for future commercial activities. Several companies aim to be the first private firm to land on the moon, including Astrobotic and Blue Origin. They plan to transport payloads and science experiments for government agencies and other groups. Longer term, companies like ispace envision building lunar bases and shuttling payload and tourists to the moon’s surface. Mining water ice at the lunar poles, which could potentially be refashioned into rocket propellant for deep-space missions, is another potential multi-billion dollar industry. As international space agencies establish lunar outposts in this decade, new supporting commercial sectors are sure to emerge on and around Earth’s nearest neighbor.

Overall, While still in its infancy, the global space economy is already valued at over $400 billion and growing exponentially. Entirely new sectors enabled by recent technological progress in launch, satellites, and spacecraft are empowering private companies to pursue what were once solely government priorities. Over the coming decade, as costs continue plummeting and capabilities increase, we will see these commercial space initiatives scale far beyond initial projections. Just as aerospace sparked entire new economic ecosystems in the 20th century, space – humanity’s next frontier – has the potential to lift billions out of poverty and fuel technology and innovation across every domain of society for generations to come.



  1. Source: CoherentMI, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it