The European Space Agency (ESA), with 18 member states, had a 2008 budget of about €## billion (US$## billion). ESA is projecting a budget of €## billion (US$## billion) for the three years from 2009–2011. One feature of the budget will be a ##% per year growth in the agency’s basic science budget. The combined civil space spending for 2008, including both national space programs and ESA contributions of the four largest members, Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, amounted to about €## billion (US$## billion), approximately ##% of their averaged national budgets.
In 2008, there were ## remote sensing satellites launched on behalf of ## countries. Of particular note, in August, the German RapidEye constellation of ## remote sensing satellites was launched. The ## RapidEye satellites travel along the same orbital plane and feature identical sensors, allowing large amounts of imagery to be collected, up to ## million square kilometers (## million square miles) per day. ## satellites in the same orbital plane allow for a higher number of multiple imaging passes over the same spot and quick revisit times. With these capabilities, the RapidEye constellation is capable of imaging any point on Earth every day.
Remote sensing satellites provide images of the Earth for civil, scientific, military, and intelligence applications using a number of different technologies.
Military space spending among European countries in 2006 totaled $## billion (€## million), according to the European Space Policy Institute, a research institute founded and supported by European aerospace industry partners. For 2004, Euroconsult estimates non-U.S. space spending at $## billion. Countries included in this estimate are the United Kingdom, France, Russia, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Israel. Data on international military space spending is generally held closely and difficult to find in public sources. Until better data becomes available, we will continue to use this 2004 figure as an estimate in our aggregated number.
Although new hiring statistics are not uniformly available for other major civil space programs or international companies, steady growth in the global space industry over the past five years suggests that demand for skilled S&E workers with space-relevant skills exists around the world.
The largest in-space platform ever constructed is the International Space Station (ISS). “Led by the United States, the ISS draws upon the scientific and technological resources of 16 nations: Canada, Japan, Russia, 11 nations of the European Space Agency [Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom], and Brazil,” according to NASA.
Non-U.S. military estimates, which are for 2004, include the following countries: United Kingdom, France, Russia, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Israel. China’s budget includes both military and civil expenditures. Note that the estimate of China’s space budget is controversial. At a NASA budget hearing in April 2006, much of the discussion was about the possible size of China’s space program and its ability to complete its plans to land astronauts on the Moon in 2017.