The decrease in U.S. military space expenditures combined with the impact of adverse exchange rates on Russia had a considerable influence on global trends as the two countries together account for 65% of space expenditures worldwide. Government spending excluding the U.S. and Russia actually increased by 8% in 2014.
Tensions on public finances have pushed governments toward severe budget arbitrations with choices to be made over spending priorities. However, this situation did not stop governments from funding new large-scale programs, even in countries impacted by the economic slowdown. Ariane-6 in Europe, the expanded IGS reconnaissance program in Japan, or the Radarsat Constellation Mission in Canada are prominent examples of governments' commitment to acquire/maintain strategic assets while supporting domestic industrial capabilities. In many cases, governments' growing inclination to integrate space in a broader strategy to preserve national security and sovereignty has been a key motivation factor to sustain or even increase funding levels to strategic programs.
"In 2014, 60 countries invested $10 million or more in space applications and technologies; this is twice as many as in 2004," said Jean-Baptiste Thepaut, Senior Consultant at Euroconsult and editor of the report. "In addition, 21 more countries have been identified with plans for investment in space projects. Such dynamism demonstrates how space technologies and applications are seen by governments as a valuable investment to support their national social, economic, strategic, and technological development."
Highlights from the 80+ agencies and organizations profiled in the report include:
- The U.S. invested $34.7 billion in its space program (civil and defense) in 2014, confirming the downward trend initiated since the start of the decade. Russia has initiated an ambitious plan to modernize and expand its space-based assets in all domains. It has accelerated its investments in the last five years at an average growth of 11% in local currency. However, penalized by decreasing oil prices, the Russian budget converted into dollars decreased by 11% in 2014 compared to that of 2013.
- Another six countries invested over $1 billion in their space programs: Japan, China, France, Germany, Italy, and India, to which shall be added the European Union. It is notable that China now surpasses France as the fourth largest space program. 18 countries recorded over $100 million in spending; this includes countries with stable investments for over a decade such as the U.K., Canada, and South Korea, and countries undertaking the development of their first or second generation of space-based assets such as Kazakhstan, Mexico, and Brazil. Only 11 countries were part of this list in 2009.
- 34 other countries invested between $10 million and $100 million in their national space programs; 22 of them were part of this list in 2009 and only 11 in 2004.
Profiles of Government Space Programs is the only complete assessment of public space programs. The report, published since 1994, is a comprehensive review of all 80+ active space programs around the world, including leading countries and organizations, emerging programs, defense and civil agencies. Each program is analyzed and assessed by the same criteria, through extensive qualitative and quantitative information and analysis, including current and future policies, budgets and programs.