Global space economy projected to be worth $1.8 trillion by 2035

Developments in space technology could help to improve warning systems for natural disasters and boost defence initiatives

Satellite technology is among the industries set to benefit from growth in the global space economy. Photo: BlackJack3D
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The global space economy is projected to grow to $1.8 trillion by 2035, a World Economic Forum report showed on Monday.

It is an increase of $1.1 trillion over last year's valuation of $630 billion. Experts say the projected surge could be made possible by an increase in activity across different industries, including satellite communications, space technology and defence and civil space programmes.

The report titled Space: The $1.8 Trillion Opportunity for Global Economic Growth was released to show the key developments that will shape the sector through to 2035.

"The space economy is forecast to soar to $1.8 trillion by 2035 in an increasingly connected and mobile world, impacting and creating value for nearly all industries on Earth and providing solutions to many of the world’s greatest challenges," the report said.

Several industries are to generate 60 per cent of that increase, including supply chain and transport, defence, retail and digital communications.

Increased threat from anti-satellite weapons

State-sponsored defence activities in space are projected to be worth about $250 billion in 2035, growing at an annual rate of 9 per cent from 2023.

The report warned leaders to be wary of nations developing anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities – military technology that can be used to destroy spacecraft.

"As nations advance their space programmes, threats to satellite networks, including ASAT weapons, will surge and become issues of critical importance," the report said.

US condemns Russian use of anti-satellite missile

US condemns Russian use of anti-satellite missile

Tests involving ASAT technology have caused growing concern over the years, because they can create a dangerous amount of space debris. That can put astronauts and other spacecraft at risk.

Experts have raised concerns that military technology could also be used during war.

Russia carried out carry out an ASAT test in 2021, destroying one of its satellites and creating thousands of pieces of space debris. India, China and the US carried out tests in the past.

The report suggested that space surveillance driven by artificial intelligence could also be developed, helping to improve efforts to track space debris, monitor satellites and identify potential threats.

Transport methods to be improved

The supply chain and transport industries could be worth an estimated $410 billion to the global space economy by 2035.

This could lead to the enhancement of satellite technology, which would allow for major improvement to ride-hailing transport services. It could also boost the use of drones and shipping methods.

Online shopping in remote areas

Space technology in the e-commerce, consumer goods and electronics industries is expected to be worth $170 billion in 2035 – marking a 10 per cent growth each year from 2023.

A growth in this sector could mean better satellite internet connectivity in remote areas. "This allows people in underserved regions to access high-speed internet, enabling them to participate in online shopping and e-commerce activities," the report said.

After 2035, companies could develop wearable devices to be used as emergency locator transmitters.

Better weather forecasting

The civil space sector is projected to reach $146 billion by 2035, with a steady growth of 7 per cent each year. Earth-observation missions are expected to be one of the largest contributors to that growth.

With advanced Earth observation analytics, improved systems to predict natural disasters "could save countless lives and infrastructure worth billions".

Space tourism is also expected to gain popularity in the coming years and renewed plans to explore the Moon could lead to further innovation in space habitats and mining operations.

Updated: April 08, 2024, 2:43 PM