OMAHA, Neb. " Revised figures compiled by the U.S. Space Foundation show an 18 percent growth in combined civilian and military space expenditures worldwide in 2006, with an aggregate figure of $220 billion in total space industry revenues. Space Foundation chief executive Elliot Pulham said some of the most impressive growth rates had come in global positioning system end-user systems, satellite-television services, and XM and Sirius satellite radio.
The numbers were released at the opening of the Space Foundation's Strategic Space and Defense conference in Omaha. The $40.7 billion in GPS revenues in 2006, up from $28.5 billion in 2005, included only chip sets and OEM hardware sales, and did not include software applications and middleware for GPS, Pulham said.
"In all line items, we've kept this fairly conservative," Pulham explained. "If we looked at support software and spin-off hardware markets, we could come up with some staggering numbers."
The Space Foundation compiled early revenues from commercial space transportation services of $30 million: $20 million for the International Space Station trip made by telecom entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari, and $10 million in advance bookings by customers for Virgin Galactic spaceflights out of New Mexico. While a raft of startup space-launch companies are preparing for satellite launches from New Mexico and the Mojave Desert, the commercial-launch business currently is dominated by traditional aerospace companies. The one player attempting commercial launches in 2006, Space-X, did not have a revenue-generating flight last year.
In government line items, $62 billion in U.S. space included an estimated $9.9 billion for the National Reconnaissance Office, and $2.67 billion for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, numbers estimated by John Pike's GlobalSecurity.org. NRO numbers exceeded those of the Missile Defense Agency, which had a 2006 budget of $9.3 billion.
Both NRO and NGA are relying on more commercial imaging from private companies, such as DigitalGlobe. Marty Hauser, vice president of government operations for the Space Foundation, said that while it was clear that NRO/NGA commercial outsourcing was increasing, the unknown numbers still represent a small percentage of the two agencies' overall budgets in space-based intelligence.