This is the quintet of nations setting the pace in space dominance

Washington, Beijing, Tokyo, Moscow and Paris concentrate more than 80% of the budgets that open the gates to space
One American, two Asian and two European nations form the quintet that leads the global government space sector. One of its performers also serves as a director

PHOTO/Acoger  -   One American, two Asian and two European nations form the quintet that leads the global government space sector. One of its performers also serves as a director

The United States, China, Japan, Russia and France are the five powers at the top of the list of nations that devote the largest sums of money to space, both civilian and military. 

A recent report on the budgets that all the world's governments have dedicated to the space sector in 2021 bears this out. The remaining years of this decade are expected to follow an upward trend. The geopolitical tensions of the moment and the growing value of space as a privileged vantage point mean that the leaders of the world's powers are investing in space instruments and technologies... just in case.

Data collected by Euroconsult, a strategic consulting and market intelligence company specialising in the space sector, show that public funding dedicated to outer space exploration and related security and defence amounted to 92.4 billion dollars (80.633 billion euros) last year, an increase of 8% compared to 2020.

Gran parte del esfuerzo inversor de Japón se ha volcado en completar el desarrollo del H-3, su nuevo lanzador propulsado por hidrógeno. Su vuelo inaugural está programado para el primer trimestre del año
PHOTO/Mainichi - Much of Japan's investment effort has gone into completing the development of the H-3, its new hydrogen-powered launcher. Its maiden flight is scheduled for the first quarter of this year.

But there is no need to panic. Although much of the last 12 months have been marked by uncertainty and the impact of COVID-19 on a global scale, the world space economy reached a volume of $370 billion - a 6% increase - which means that the $92.4 billion from the public purse is only 25% of that. The vast majority of the 75% comes from satellite navigation and communications, according to Euroconsult. 

An investment of $92.4 billion is a direct consequence of a process of "continued and accelerated upward mobility", the report notes. There have been two main factors behind the growth in government contributions. On the civilian side, the launch and continuation of ambitious space exploration programmes by the major powers, which last year amounted to $53 billion, 57.36 per cent of the total, was a decisive factor. 

La economía espacial mundial en 2021ascendió a 370.000 millones de dólares, lo que significa que los 92.400 millones que suman los presupuestos gubernamentales son solo el 25% del total
PHOTO/NASA-Frank Michaux - The global space economy in 2021 amounted to $370 billion, which means that the $92.4 billion in government budgets is only 25 per cent of the total.
The United States invests more than the rest of the world combined

In the area of security and defence, the trigger for the increase in economic contributions from governments was China's rivalry with the United States, Japan, India and Australia, which has led to the strengthening of military defence programmes, whose volume in 2021 stood at 39,000 million dollars -42.21%- and continues to rise.

Of the 92.4 billion government spending in 2021, the five major investors account for 76.608 billion dollars. This means that the United States, China, Japan, Russia and France together account for 82.91%. If we add the next quintet - the European Union (2,574 million), Germany (2,377), India (1963), Italy (1,481) and the United Kingdom (1,464) - the contributors of the Top Ten have contributed 86,467 million dollars, or 93.58% of the world's total.

It is the Biden Administration that leads and sets the global tone, with no less than $54.589 billion, representing more than half of the global space bill, exactly 58.08%. The US has invested in the development and launching into orbit of military secure communications platforms, cutting-edge technologies, advanced spy satellites and even small space shuttles with secret missions.

China gana terreno paso a paso, pero todavía está muy lejos de Estados Unidos. Pekín gastó 10.286 millones de dólares en 2021, lo que viene a representar el 18,84% de lo que dedicó Washington
PHOTO/CGTN - China is gaining ground step by step, but it is still far behind the United States. Beijing spent $10.286 billion in 2021, which is 18.84 per cent of what Washington spent.

Washington continues to increase its public funding package. NASA has a budget for 2022 of more than $25 billion, to which must be added the multi-billion dollar allocations for ultra-terrestrial activities from the Pentagon and other federal departments, which enjoy the privilege of being able to put spy, military communications, weather and technology satellites into orbit.

China is the other major player with interests in space. However, despite appearances and despite the fact that it is gaining ground step by step, Beijing still lags far behind the United States. If the figures provided by the Chinese government are correct, President Xi Jinpig spent 10.286 billion dollars, which represents 11.13% of the world total and barely 18.84% of the capital that Washington devotes to these matters.

El director general de Roscosmos, Dimitri Rogozin, explica a Vladimir Putin las principales particularidades del nuevo cosmódromo siberiano de Vostochny, a 7.000 kilómetros de Moscú
PHOTO/Press Office Kremlin - Roscosmos Director-General Dmitry Rogozin explains to Vladimir Putin the main features of the new Siberian cosmodrome in Vostochny, 7,000 kilometres from Moscow
Russia at the bottom of the quintet

Beijing has invested in 55 space launches that have placed nearly a hundred scientific, military and civilian communications devices and spy satellites of all kinds into orbit. This includes the launch of the first link of its own space station and the continuation of its robotic projects on the Moon and Mars.

Japan is halfway behind China. It has spent $4.214 billion, 40.97% of what its mainland neighbour has spent. Much of Tokyo's effort has gone into completing the development of the H-3, its new hydrogen-powered launcher. The new prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has been informed that its maiden flight is scheduled for the first quarter of this year.

Joel Kowsky - Una de las competencias de la vicepresidenta Kamala Harris es ejercer la presidencia del Consejo Espacial Nacional. En su primer ejercicio económico, la Administración Biden ha invertido nada menos que 54.589 millones de dólaresPHOTO/NASA - Joel Kowsky - Una de las competencias de la vicepresidenta Kamala Harris es ejercer la presidencia del Consejo Espacial Nacional. En su primer ejercicio económico, la Administración Biden ha invertido nada menos que 54.589 millones de dólares
PHOTO/NASA - Joel Kowsky - One of Vice President Kamala Harris' responsibilities is to chair the National Space Council. In its first financial year, the Biden Administration has invested a staggering $54.589 billion in the National Space Council

Far behind China and a long way behind the United States are Russia and France. President Emmanuel Macron is following in the footsteps of his predecessors at the Elysée Palace and maintains the firm view that a commitment to space technology is France's strategic strength. In 2021, he has given his blessing to $3,952 million, which is barely 7.24% of the amount invested by Joe Biden. But Macron can boast that France is the fourth country that devotes the most euros to space.

Provided that the official figures provided by the directors of Vladimir Putin's Federal Space Agency are correct, Russia is at the tail end of the small leading pack. It has spent $3.567 billion on space, which is 6.53 per cent of what the United States has spent. It is costing the Kremlin a lot of time and money to develop the Angara family of launchers and, above all, to complete its new large cosmodrome at Vostochny, some 7,000 kilometres from Moscow in Siberia. 

El presidente Emmanuel Macron dio el visto bueno a una inversión de 3.952 millones de dólares. Su ministra de Defensa, Florence Parly, le secunda y Francia cuenta desde el verano de 2019 con una estrategia espacial militar
PHOTO/Armees - President Emmanuel Macron has given the go-ahead for a $3.952 billion investment. His defence minister, Florence Parly, seconded him and France will have a military space strategy in place as of summer 2019.

Where does Spain rank in the world? Not far behind. It is in 13th place, behind South Korea ($679 million) and Canada, with $490 million. According to data obtained by Euroconsult, Pedro Sánchez's government invested $399 million in 2021. The largest package (284 million) was used by the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) to finance the participation of national industry in the European Space Agency (ESA). The rest was managed by other departments, including Defence, Science, Transport and Ecological Transition, each at their own discretion.