A giant leap for the space industry

Davos—the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting—is in full swing through January 20. All this week, our daily charts will focus on some of the key themes of the event, including resilience, sustainability, reimagining globalization, inclusion, and space. For more, see “McKinsey and the World Economic Forum 2023.”

The space industry is set to take off over the next decade, find senior partner Ryan Brukardt, partner Jesse Klempner, and collaborators at the World Economic Forum. The space market, for example, has grown to approximately $447 billion—up from $280 billion in 2010—and could grow to $1 trillion by 2030. The number of active satellites—which can handle tasks ranging from tracking data on climate change to processing credit card transactions—could triple within the next decade.

The space sector has come a long way and seems poised for future growth.

Image description

The exhibit is mostly a set of 10 bar graphs about the space sector, showing how things were in the past, how they are now, and a projection to the future as far as 2030. They generally show massive increases in the size of the space market, annual private funding, the number of countries with space agencies, the number of space start-ups, the number of active satellites, the number of satellite launches, etc. But they also show a massively sharp decrease in the cost of a satellite and a massive decrease in the cost per kilo of getting objects into orbit. At the bottom of the graph is a diagram of near-Earth orbital spaces, highlighting where interest historically has been, which is the geosynchronous orbital area at up to 22,300 miles from Earth; to where interest lies now, which is the low-Earth orbital area, approximately 1,000 miles from Earth; and the orbital area of future interest, which is more than 240,000 miles from Earth, or beyond the Moon.

End of image description

To read the report, see “The role of space in driving sustainability, security, and development on Earth,” May 19, 2022.