Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Metrics on the Canadian Commercial Space Sector
Part 1: Basic Background Information

The State of the Cdn Space Sector.
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and most of the rest of those in the know call it the space systems industry and it isn't yet quite as big as the Canadian aerospace industry, which the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) categorizes as generating $22 billion CDN in revenue in FY2009 (according to the October 2010 report titled "The Strategic and Economic Impact of the Canadian Aerospace Industry").

But it's still a pretty good size. The 140 companies and organizations listed in the Canadian Space Directory generated $3.1 billion CDN in revenue in 2009 according to the 2009 State of the Canadian Space Sector Report (2009 CSSR).

And the industry is growing.

According to the report, revenues increased by 8% over 2008 to $3.025 billion, surpassing the $3 billion mark for the first time and workforce growth continued on a strong upward trend. The Canadian space sector presently employs "7564 people, of which 3770 are highly qualified professionals" according to the report.

And as discussed in my February 14th, 2011 post "Innovation and Canada's Commercial Space Sector" we also need to remember that:
... the (current) report covers 2009, the first full year of the great recession, and the growth of the overall Canadian economy for that year was essentially zero (at least according to the Statistics Canada data collected on the Trading Economics website). (Given that) the strength of our commercial space industry seems impressive.
Satellite communications is the sector with the most commercial activity at $2.326 billion CDN for 2009 according to the 2009 CSSR. The satellite sector represents 77% of total space sector revenue in 2009.

But to go any deeper into the industry as it presently stands, you need to look at a presentation titled "The Canadian Space Sector in the International Landscape" which Euroconsult, North America President Steve Bochinger created to present during the 2011 Canadian Space Commerce Association (CSCA) conference and general meeting on March 18th, 2011.

A short snapshot of the Canadian space program C/O Euroconsult, North America.
In his presentation, Bochinger divides the Canadian space sector into government funded and privately supported. The $626 million CDN government funded sector is then subdivided into two further categories to reflect the $377 million CDN coming from the CSA and a remainder, which mostly comes from the Department of National Defence (DND) through the Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and is focused on military research and development. According to Bochinger, this government investment is driven by the following requirements:
The private sector description, pretty much parallels the 2009 CSSR with slightly over $3 billion CDN in revenue, weighted heavily on the satellite communications sector but with the added comment that the industry mostly develops outside of government investment.

Which means that there is not a lot of overlap between the $626 million CDN government funded sector and the $3+ billion CDN private sector.

According to Bochinger, rocket launchers are not an area of investment although there are ongoing discussions around the development of an indigenous small satellite launcher to facilitate science and provide military situational awareness capabilities. He also believes that the difficulty in formulating a national space policy (as discussed in my three part post "Two Billion Dollars for the Canadian Space Agency") highlights uncertain domestic governance and leadership.

Canadian space industry revenues from 2000 - 2009. C/O Euroconsult, North America.
Now that we know where the Canadian space systems industry stands, it's worthwhile taking a look at the leading companies in the sector, where they sells products and where the sector is going. Those discussions will be the subjects of future posts.

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