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How space activities relate to the global economy?

OECD Space Forum

More than 80 countries have launched satellites in orbit, and satellite signals and data play an increasingly pivotal role in the efficient functioning of societies and their economic development. In co-operation with the space community, the OECD Space Forum is a unique international group with the mission to investigate the space sector’s economic and innovation dimensions for the larger economy and society. The Space Forum is located within OECD, an economic, non-space, international organisation, whose main focus is statistical excellence and policy review in many different government domains. This unique international platform contributes to constructive dialogue between stakeholders and exchanges of best practices.

Space Forum Members

AEM (Mexico)

ASI (Italy)

CNES (France)

CSA (Canada)

DLR (Germany)

KARI (Korea)


NSC (Norway)

NSO (The Netherlands)

UKSA (United Kingdom)

European Space Agency (ESA)

OECD Space Forum Activities

The OECD Space Forum is a unique international platform working with the space community to support evidence-based policies, by examining the economic dimensions and innovation role of the space sector for the wider economy. The Forum's original analysis also contribute to broader OECD Committee on Science and Technology Policy priorities (e.g. digitalisation, emerging technologies for addressing grand challenges).

The Secretariat carries on economic research, indicators development and continuing studies on evaluation and impact assessment. Two particular lines of research are conducted in 2018: space technology transfers (definitions, indicators, evaluation) and research on the  low-Earth orbit (LEO) economy, examining the economic rationales and policies that can support -or not- the development of the LEO economy. The OECD Space Forum also supports its members on bilateral basis and contributes substance to a large-scale OECD-wide horizontal Digital Project. 

Selected Meetings (in addition to other events organised by partner organisations):

  • 3 October 2019 (OECD, Paris): Annual meeting of the Space Forum Steering Group
  • 2 October 2019 (OECD, Paris): OECD Space Forum Workshop
  • 17 May 2019 OECD Space Forum Workshop (TBC)
  • 16 May 2019: Expert seminar for members of the OECD Space Forum Steering Group (TBC)
  • 26 October 2018 (OECD, Paris): Annual meeting of the Space Forum Steering Group
  • 25 October 2018 (OECD, Paris): OECD Space Forum Workshop on Economic Models for the Low-Earth Orbit and Beyond 
  • 27 April 2018 (OECD, Paris): OECD Space Forum Workshop on the Transformation of the Space Industry: Linking Innovation and Procurement (following a dedicated seminar on April 26th for Space Forum members)
  • 27 October 2017 (OECD, Paris): Annual meeting of the Space Forum Steering Group
  • 26 October 2017 (OECD, Paris): As part of the current research on satellite data and the digitalisation of the economy (contributing to the broader OECD-wide Going Digital project), the Space Forum is organising a special session CLOSE-UP ON A.I. IN SPACE APPLICATIONS during a major OECD Conference on Artificial Intelligence
  • 22-23 June 2017 (OECD, Paris): Workshop - Economic and Innovation Indicators in the Space Economy
  • 21 June 2017 (CNES, Paris): Joint Seminar with the SATTO Group (Space Agency Technology Transfer Officers Group) –Technology Transfer and Commercialisation (TTC) from Space Programmes : Enabling Conditions, Processes and Economic Impacts
  • Meetings with national administrations, agencies and industry associations conducted thoughout the year 


News and Events

* On April 27th 2018, the OECD Space Forum organised an original workshop on The Transformation of the Space Industry: Linking Innovation and Procurement. The event gathered some 50 experts from industry and governmental agencies and economists from 17 countries to discuss the connections between breakthrough technologies in the space sector, their impacts on the economy and new procurement mechanisms.

* On October 25th 2017, the OECD Space Forum Secretariat organised a special session during a major Artificial Intelligence conference at the OECD, examining a stimulating domain of application of big data and machine learning: innovative space applications. A panel of 4 start-ups and 2 administrations described a whole new generation of down-to-earth geospatial tools, based on satellite data and machine learning, that are impacting how we can monitor sectors, from oil and gas infrastructure, road management, finance or mapping quickly and monitoring economic activities of entire countries for policy-making. We thank our panelists, the presentations will be available here and original interviews and webcast can be found on Facebook. This large event followed a special seminar on space economy definitions on Oct. 24th. The Space Forum also hosted successfully its annual Steering Group meeting on Oct. 26th, reviewing 2017 activities and setting up priorities for 2018. Forthcoming OECD outputs will further contribute to inform policy-makers, space administrations, private stakeholders, and actors much beyond the space community of the opportunities offered by the ongoing transformation of the space industry.

 * June 2017 was a busy month for the OECD Space Forum Secretariat and its members with meetings at the International Le Bourget Air and Space Show, and two back-to-back expert meetings. On June 21st,  the Secretariat co-organised an original Seminar on Technology Transfer and Commercialisation (TTC) from Space Programmes with the SATTO Group in CNES. Practitioners from 10 space agencies were represented with OECD experts to exchange lessons learned and best practices. On June 22-23, a lively workshop on Economic and Innovation Indicators for the Space Sector took place at the OECD, with some 40 invited experts from 16 countries. Proxy indicators for space innovation and new economic impact indicators were presented and discussed extensively. Based on the feedback received , the OECD Space Forum remains today a very unique international and intergovernmental platform allowing crucial exchanges and inputs on the economics of space programmes. 

* On 12 April 2017, the OECD Space Forum contributed via teleconference some perspectives on open science to the United Nations / Italy Expert Meeting on the Open Universe Initiative. The meeting was held in Rome, in the facilities of the Italian space agency (ASI). The “Open Universe” initiative is an important international step led by the UN COPUOS and ASI for expanding availability and accessibility of space science data.  

* 7-8 February 2017: The OECD Space Forum Secretariat shared its experience in working with the space community during the annual meeting of the OECD Environment Policy Commitee (EPOC), in the session "The role of geospatial data in improving environmental information". The OECD is currently working with earth observation data providers and key partners to develop its geospatial data capacity.

* The OECD became an Observer to the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) that will hold its GEO-XIII Ministerial in Saint Petersburg, on Nov. 9-10, 2016. 

* The OECD Space Forum held on 27 October 2016 an international symposium on Innovation and the Space Sector, which assembled some +150 participants from 26 countries. The new OECD report Space and Innovation was launched during the event, with an introduction by OECD Deputy Secretary General Doug Frantz, and keynotes and speeches from heads of space agencies, CEOs, and directors from public and private organisations. The symposium was held back to back with the annual meeting of the OECD Space Forum Steering Group, which discussed the workplan for 2017 after reviewing the activities of a busy 2016.   

* The OECD Space Forum organised on 9/10 June a workshop on Innovation and Downstream Space Activities, in cooperation with the European Space Agency at the agency's ECSAT Center in Harwell, UK. The event gathered some 80 participants from agencies, ministries, industry (including SMEs and startups) and industry associations, with  discussions on new services and products, the big data paradigm, economic models and policy support for innovation specifically in dowstream activities. 

* The OECD Space Forum and UKSA organised an original workshop on Innovation and Low Cost Access to Space on May 12-13, 2016 in OECD. The event assembled some 80 participants from North America, Asia and Europe, to discuss the changing paradigm and innovation trends in space access (space transportation systems, in-orbit systems like small satellite), new production and organisational processes being set up around the world, new economic drivers like constellations, and needed policy mix to manage and sustain innovation. 

* The OECD Space Forum held a ground-breaking workshop on the value of geospatial information on March 10-11th, in cooperation with the GeoValue community with NASA and USGS. Some 80 experts assembled to share methodologies, case studies and best practices in OECD.

* The IAF Space Economy Technical Committee met at the International Astronautical Congress in Jerusalem, on Oct. 12th 2015, with a dedicated economic session “E 3.3 The space economy: what are the socio-economic impacts?” with 12 papers, held on Oct. 14th.

* The OECD Space Forum hosted its annual Steering Group meeting on Oct. 9th. It was preceded by an expert meeting of the Coordination Group on Meteorological Satellite’s tiger team on socio-economic benefits hosted for the first time by the OECD, on the 7th and by a OECD workshop on “Institutional support for space programme: practices around the world”, on the 8th.

* The OECD Space Forum has contributed a presentation on innovation and entrepreneurship in the space sector at the IAF Global Space Innovation Conference (GLIC 2015), held in Munich, 23-24 June 2015.

* Two ground-breaking OECD workshops on space activities’ taxonomy and the value chains of earth observation were held on 21 and 22 May, hosted respectively by ESA and by CNES in Paris. The findings will be feeding into the future revised OECD Handbook on Measuring the Space Economy. Some twenty countries were represented at both events and the consultation process with the space community and beyond continues.

* The OECD Space Forum was invited to present recent findings on global value chains in the space sector at the 31st Space Symposium, held at Colorado Springs, USA, in April 2015.

* The IAF Space Economy Technical Committee met on 24 March in Paris and discussed industrial surveys and new activities. A dozen excellent papers were also selected for the forthcoming annual economic session to be held at the International Astronautical Congress in Jerusalem, in October 2015.