This is the first survey estimating key figures for 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 budgets for space-related activities among universities, research institutes and governmental agencies.
The economic activities of the Norwegian space sector contributes NOK 5.4 billion to 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.
- 2,700 employees in a high-tech industry is noticeable in a small country like Norway. The distribution of jobs in all the counties, both in and outside of cities, with a 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. The findings were presented at Spaceport Norway in Oslo October 24th 2023.
Page 1 of the key figures for the Norwegian space sector surveyed in 2021. Infographics: Norwegian Space Agency
- This is the first time we have conducted a survey this broad. Thus, we do not have data series indicating 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 societal and commercial services in our highly digitized society, Eldholm adds.
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.
Page 2 of the key figures for the Norwegian space sector surveyed in 2021. Infographics: Norwegian Space Agency
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 actors account for 71 percent of the economic activity. There are nevertheless a significant number of smaller companies. With an increased Norwegian ambition, 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.
The Norwegian space sectorincludes both upstream activities, i.e. development and deliveries of space systems and ground systems, and downstream activities, which is the development 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, constituting an approximately 76 percent of the total economic activity, with telecommunications the being the most dominant part, says Eldholm.
NASA's rover Perseverance on Mars carries the Norwegian georadar Rimfax to peer into the subsurface. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/FFI
The Norwegian space industry has an estimated commercial 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 which are not related to petroleum activities, says Eldholm.
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, projections indicate 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 as the sector develops in the years ahead, says Eldholm.
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.
Orbit NTNU is one of several organizations for students who are interested in space at Norwegian universities. Photo: Orbit NTNU
- Therefore, it is very positive that the study confirms there is a substantial number of members of the organizations for space interested students at universities all over Norway. These organizations build small satellites, instruments, and small rockets, and perform well 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.
Mari Eldholm – Senior Advisor, strategic analysis – Norwegian Space Agency – +47 476 67 751
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