Credit: NASA

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis is moving forward on a project to measure the economic contributions of both commercial and government ventures in space.

This new BEA appraisal involves a new set of statistics that will measure the contributions of space-related industries (and possibly activities) to the overall U.S. economy.

Commercial space segment

BEA has launched this research project to measure the multibillion-dollar U.S. space economy, such as satellites, rocket launches, and benefits like GPS navigation here on Earth.

Atlas V liftoff.
Credit: ULA

“The goal is to create a prototype set of statistics showing the space sector’s impact on the national economy,” explains the BEA. “We are researching how to measure both public programs and private endeavors, with emphasis on capturing the value of the expanding commercial space segment.

The intent of the effort is to provide business leaders and policymakers a new tool to analyze the space economy and inform investment decisions.

Starlink satellites.
Credit: SpaceX

Core economic measures

The new statistics on the space sector’s size, growth, and employment would be consistent with BEA’s core economic measures, such as industry data and the nation’s gross domestic product, or GDP. That means they could be used to compare the space sector to other U.S. industries and the economy overall.


Prototype estimates of the space economy’s GDP, gross output, employment, and compensation by industry are expected to be released in late 2020, pursuant to available resources. Following this, BEA will explore options for further work and extensions to the space statistics.

Up and outward bound.
Credit: SpaceX

Satellite account

The proposed “Space Economy Satellite Account (SESA)” would resemble other BEA satellite accounts, which supplement the organization’s core statistics with more-detailed economic data on, for example, health care or outdoor recreation.

“Of course, this satellite account would be about actual satellites – as well as other space-related goods and services and research, development, and exploration,” explains the BEA. Determining the exact definitions to use for the “space economy” and “commercial space” is the first, critical step, they add.

The BEA is developing this account as a joint effort with the Office of Space Commerce within the United States Department of Commerce (DOC).

Alpha Station:
A commercially operated platform.
Credit: Bigelow Space Operations


Wanted: feedback

The BEA is asking for feedback from data users and interested stakeholders regarding the definitions and industries used in the SESA, plus any other comments users think may be relevant to the development of these statistics.



To make contact with the BEA, email:

Also, go to “Measuring the Value of the U.S. Space Economy” by Tina Highfill, Patrick Georgi, and Dominique Dubria at:

One Response to “New Effort to Measure the Space Economy’s GDP”

  • William Ricard says:

    Dear all,

    My name is William Ricard and I am working in socio economic impact assessment related to the space industry for 9 years. I have been extensively developing socio-eco. impact assessment, including transactional impact (i.e. GDP impact) assessed through General Equilibrium Model.

    We have been working on taxonomy to ensure robustness, completeness and comparability between studies (e.g. on European Space Agencies programmes and European Commission programmes), and I am then curious to discuss the taxonomy you plan to use. It is specially tricky when it comes to the downstream part of the value-chain, where the definition of where does Space stops is quite blured.

    I will be more than happy to support/collaborate with you in this very interesting exercise.

    Kind regards,


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