The Space Economy Symposium, an initiative of George Mason University in collaboration with Phillips & Company and hosted by the Space Enterprise Council of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, provided a forum for a robust discussion on the contributions of space to the nation’s economic growth and the role of space in enabling greater national competitiveness in a global economy.
“Keeping NASA funded at its highest levels is paramount to the success of America, creating jobs for our struggling economy and keeping us on the frontline of space exploration,” said Congressman Parker Griffith (D-AL) in his keynote remarks. “A well-funded space program is one of the many things that can help provide a needed jump start to our struggling economy,” said Griffith, a member of the Science and Technology Committee and the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics in the U.S. House of Representatives. His district includes Huntsville, AL, the home of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
Two panels of experts presented recent research and analysis of the space economy and discussed its effect on the broader economy including areas such as the environment, energy, communications, and technology development. They also discussed new space infrastructure development, including communications, earth observations, launch systems and commercial exploration and what these new systems and infrastructure will mean in terms of benefiting Earth and enabling more affordable utilization and exploration of space.
Among the research presented was a study introduced at the symposium by the international consulting firm Oxford Analytica. Entitled “Understanding the Space Economy,” the study predicts the space industry will reach more than $1 trillion by 2020. The study finds that space is a critically important contributor to the global economy: “Remove the space dimension and the world would lose much of the growth that it has experienced in the last 50 years.”
Barrie Stevens, Deputy Director, International Futures Program at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) discussed the OECD report “The Space Economy at a Glance,” a “first ever statistical overview of the emerging space economy.” The study finds that “over coming decades, space-related applications, such as distance education, telemedicine, precision farming, land-use management, and monitoring of various international treaties, will continue to hold great socioeconomic promise.”
The goals of the symposium were to make space a central part of our national economic discussion and to ensure that space is recognized as an essential component of national competitiveness in a global economy.