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Norge sett fra rommet om natten. Foto: NASA/ESA

The Norwegian space sector has a yearly turnover of NOK 11 billion

This is the first survey of the key figures of the value created by the Norwegian space sector.

The Norwegian space sector creates jobs throughout the entire country and is a high-tech export industry that engages a variety of actors.

The total economic activity of the Norwegian space sector is estimated at a total of NOK 11.7 billion annually.

NOK 11 billion is space-related turnover among commercial actors, and NOK 700 million can be linked to space-related budgets activities among universities, research institutes andgovernmental agencies.

The economic activities of the Norwegian space sector represents NOK 5.4 billion of the annual gross domestic product.

The Norwegian space sector consists of 138 different actors, representing a total of approximately 2,700 jobs, spread across all the counties of the country, located both in and outside of the cities.

A noticeable high-tech industry

- 2,700 employees in a high-tech industry is noticeable in a small country like Norway. The spread of jobs in almost all the counties and the location both in and outside of the cities, with a good number of workplaces in northern Norway, makes the space industry something that involves the entire country, says Mari Eldholm, Senior Advisor in strategic analysis at the Norwegian Space Agency.

She emphasizes that the figures in the survey are estimates. The survey was carried out by the Norwegian Space Agency with assistance from Oslo Economics.

- This is the first time we have conducted a survey this broad. Thus, we do not have figures of the development over time, but at least now we have a method that can be used again for a later survey, says Eldholm.

- It is also important to point out that the users of the services and products of the Norwegian space sector were not included in this survey. This is probably where the really big numbers are, since much of what is produced by the space sector is data that supports a number of critical and commercial services in our highly digitized society, Eldhom adds.

Small, medium and large companies

The 138 actors in the Norwegian space industry are both commercial companies and non-commercial public agencies, research institutes and universities.

The companies range from small companies with less than ten employees, to medium-sized companies, and large companies with over 250 employees.

Yet more than half of the actors in the Norwegian space industry are small and medium-sized companies, and just under a third are non-commercial players.

- At the same time, this is a top-heavy industry, where the top five largest actors account for 71 percent of the economic activity. There are nevertheless a significant number of smaller companies. With an increased Norwegian ambition in the field, for example in the form of a national value chain for small satellites, a Norwegian spaceport, and increased understanding of the usefulness of satellite data, it will be exciting to follow the sector in the years to come, says Eldholm.

A Norwegian export industry for the future

The Norwegian space industry includes both upstream activities, i.e. activities and deliveries to space systems and ground systems, and downstream activities, which are activities and deliveries of products and services based on the space systems and data from these.

Moreover, several companies provide specialized support services, and a number of non-commercial actors provide world-class research or important services to society.

- Most of the Norwegian space sector are downstream activities, approximately 76 percent of the economic activity, with telecommunications the most dominant part, says Eldholm.

The Norwegian space industry has an estimated export rate of 81 percent, and exports commercial goods and services worth NOK 8.9 billion per year. This is significant, and shows that the Norwegian space sector is internationally competitive.

- Thus, the Norwegian space sector is a real export industry, something which is both future-oriented and in line with Norway’s political goals of increasing exports, says Eldholm.

Norway is a medium-sized space nation

Norway has had a total of 19 satellites in orbit and launched 1,205 sounding rockets. The Norwegian satellites are both large and small, from public agencies, private companies and universities.

- These facts, along with the figures for the space industry, are the reason why I think we should refer to Norway as a medium-sized space nation in an international context, says Eldholm.

In addition, calculations show that the number of Norwegian satellites in orbit may double over the next few years, and launching small satellites is planned from Andøya from 2024 onwards.

- Thus, it will be very exciting to see how the figures for the Norwegian space sector will change in the years ahead, says Eldholm.

Space activities attract students

Eldholm also sees that the space industry, like most other STEM sectors, needs competent new employees, yet struggles to recruit enough people for all the tasks that accompany a developing industry.

- Therefore, it is very positive to see that members of the organizations for space interested students at Norwegian universities are very active. These organizations build both satellites, instruments and small rockets, and participate in international competitions. This means that we get more "experts" directly from the universities, which makes these organizations very valuable for both the space sector and other technology-driven sectors, says Eldholm.

- It seems that the Norwegian space industry is exciting enough to attract committed students, recent graduates and employees, as well as enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, concludes Eldholm.

For more information

Mari Eldholm – Senior Advisor, strategic analysis – Norwegian Space Agency – +47 476 67 751