New historic high for government space spending mostly driven by defense expenditures

In 2023 government space budgets have reached a record-breaking $117 billion, marking a growth of over 15% compared to the previous year. With an estimated value of almost $59 billion, defense expenditures have now surpassed investments in civil programs, a historic first for the sector.

Paris, Washington D.C., Montreal, Yokohama, Sydney, December 19th, 2023. The leading strategic space consulting and market intelligence firm Euroconsult has released the 23rd edition of its annual Government Space Program report confirming the growing financial efforts achieved by governments in the space sector. Keen to capitalize on the expanding space economy and to further strengthen their sovereign capabilities, government space expenditures have increased to $117 billion, a 15% increase compared to last year.  

Throughout history, government spending has predominantly been directed towards investments in civil space activities. However, in 2023, a significant paradigm shift has occurred, with defense expenditures now taking the lead. This development underscores the pivotal role of space in an era characterized by escalating global tensions. The increasingly complex and contentious geopolitical landscape has motivated leading spacefaring nations to intensify their investments in the defense space sector. While funding for traditional applications like Telecommunications, Navigation, and Earth observation has steadily increased in recent years, the most notable surge has been witnessed in investments related to Security and Early Warning.

On the other side, the growth in civil budgets is mainly driven by crewed and non-crewed Scientific and Exploration programs. While spending remains concentrated among leading spacefaring nations, notably supporting the U.S.-led Artemis program and the Chinese IRLS initiative, an increasing number of nations are acknowledging the socio-economic benefits of these endeavors and are now developing their own initiatives.

World government expenditures for space programs in 2023* for a total investment of $117 billion

In terms of national rankings, the U.S. continues to hold the top position in governmental investment in space, allocating over $73 billion to space activities in 2023. However, its global share has gradually decreased from around 75% in 2000 to 63% in 2023, as other nations have increased their financial efforts in the sector. While Europe has maintained consistent importance, Asia’s share of global spending has nearly doubled since the early 2000s, driven by China’s substantial investments in the sector.

In addition to the historical spacefaring countries, an increasing number of countries in the region have chosen to revamp their approach to the space sector in recent years, involving heightened financial commitments, the formulation of new space strategies, and, for some, the establishment of a dedicated space agency. This trend underscores governments’ recognition of space as a valuable investment for national socio-economic benefits, serving both civil and defense purposes. Over the past few years, a new rationale has emerged, with countries seeking to secure a share of the expanding commercial revenues generated by the space industry for their industries. This trend is notably visible in Asia, with new initiatives undertaken in New Zealand and Australia, as well as in the Middle East, where various Gulf countries have recently shown a growing interest in space activities.

Looking forward, it is anticipated that government space budgets will keep rising. Nevertheless, as governments pursue significant milestones in both civil and defense space initiatives, it is expected that a plateau in budget expansion will occur. This projection stems from the potential challenge governments may face in sustaining continuous financial escalation in the future.

Charlotte Croison, Senior Consultant at Euroconsult, stated “The 23rd edition of our Government Space Programs report confirms that governments are firmly committed to boost their space budgets and enhance their capabilities in orbit. This is true for leading spacefaring but also extends to an increasing number of countries entering the space sector, seeking to leverage the diverse socio-economic benefits it offers. “   

“Despite growth in both sectors this year, a significant insight from the report is the shift where defense investments now outpace civil spending. This mirrors the current trends in global geopolitics.”

Euroconsult’s Government Space Programs report is designed for diverse audiences, including government space-related institutions, manufacturers of space technology seeking government contracts, organizations investing in the space sector, and other stakeholders in the industry.

This flagship Market Intelligence product provides an analysis and benchmark of all public spending and space programs. For each country or organization, the report provides a comprehensive analysis of the space policy, strategy and governance of space activities in the country/organization. It further details the different programs conducted by the country/organization and provides an in-depth analysis of its expenditures in the field for the past decade and ten years ahead. In addition to more than 90 countries and organizations profiles, the report contains a Strategic Outlook chapter benchmarking the different national programs to identify key trends at the global and regional levels. The report comes with an excel file covering more than 90 countries and organizations across six world regions and is available now via Euroconsult’s Digital Platform at

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