Space Economy

The Space Economy’s Network

In order to better understand the Space Economy, we have partnered with the Satellite Applications Catapult to build a ‘Real-Time Industrial Classification’ (RTIC) of the UK’s Space Sector.

Experts at the Catapult have developed a comprehensive taxonomy, which identifies the pockets of activity that form the Space Industry and we have combined this with our AI technology, enabling us to better map the UK’s Space Economy. This may, inevitably, present comparative figures and statistics to those published via traditional means.

The Space Economy

The novel dataset output from this collaboration between the Satellite Applications Catapult and The Data City supposes a critical tool to understand the Space Economy in the UK. The RTIC methodology facilitates capturing data for emergent sectors that are not well classified by SIC, however, it also allows for new ways of interpreting relationships among sectors. The Space Economy can be analysed as part of a larger structure, which allows for the identification of close relationships and opportunities for knowledge and skills transfer. For this case, our data shows that the Space Economy should be understood as a central element of supply networks.

This blogpost looks into the relationship between the Space Economy and other RTICs, with the purpose of understanding how space technologies enable the activity of other sectors.

Continue reading to learn more about space enabled sectors:

During the last decades, Space has become a critical sector. But just how important is it?

Space-enabled applications are becoming more present in our everyday lives enabling a wide range of purposes: from connectivity and imagery production to the development of quantum technologies. This is one of the reasons why we have seen a significant increase in the number of UK companies in this sector.

The Satellite Applications Catapult aims to make the importance of Space technologies more visible for other emergent sectors in the UK. We want to support their goal, and believe that the RTIC methodology can help in this task.

One of the strengths of RTICs is that they represent economic sectors as relational, parting ways with more hierarchal representations of supply chains. Using this methodology, we set ourselves the task to understand how the Space Economy relates to other emergent economies.

The data attained from The Data City RTIC suggests that the sector has grown at a rate of 185% over the last 10 years.

Space Economy’s Supply Network

Currently, network analysis is a common method to understand economic practice. It allows us to understand which sectors are more influential and how they interact with others.

Strong ties between sectors are a good indication of collaboration and knowledge transfer, two points that will help us understand the role of the Space Economy for wider economic structures. We can measure whether there is a relationship between two sectors by counting the number of companies shared by two sectors.

For instance, the Space Economy RTIC captures companies providing satellite imagery for mapping purposes. However, these same companies are also captured by our Geospatial Economy RTIC. This means that there are technologies, products and processes common in Space Economy’s and Geospatial Economy’s RTICs. We can illustrate these relationships as a graph.

The graph above represents the number of companies the Space Economy RTIC shares with other sector RTICs (AgriTech, Geospatial Economy, Internet of Things, Photonics, Quantum, Streaming Economy, and Telecommunications).

The thicker the link between two nodes, the larger the number of companies shared between the two sectors they represent. The size of the node represents the number of relationships associated with it. These two premises allow us to state that the Space Economy is the central node for this network, as far as it records the highest number of relationships. This is consistent with the idea that Space technologies enable the activity of other sectors and, therefore, constitutes a critical part of the UK’s economy.

Likewise, the graph gives us extra insights on how Space technologies impact other sectors. For instance, we can see that Space and Streaming Economies do not directly relate but have a common neighbour, Telecommunications. This indicates that the Telecommunications sectors adapts Space technologies to provide infrastructure and services that make possible the Streaming Economy.

This supply network analysis demonstrates that the Space Economy is fundamental for the activity of seemingly not directly related sectors. As such, our data shows that the Space Economy should be understood as a central element of supply networks.


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