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Space industry

Research guide

Published: 13 Mar 2019 Updated: 25 Feb 2021 Update History

Exclusive content
Access to our exclusive resources is for specific groups of students, subscribers and members.

Use our industry guide to find key background information, market research, import and export guidelines, statistics, legislation, trade bodies and trade publications.

The Business & Industry Guides series is produced by the Library & Information Service for ICAEW members and ACA students.

We can compile tailored key players reports, mailing lists, market reports, benchmarking reports and industry news. Our enquiry team can also research other industry-specific information, such as taxation, for you. Call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or email library@icaew.com.

Trends and forecasts

Filling the vacuum: The threat of new space
Article by Randy Starr and Eric Brown discussing trends and developments in the global space sector. Posted on PwC's Industrial insights blog on 2 March 2017.

Market research

Market research reports focusing on this business sector are available from a number of market research specialists. In most cases these reports are available to fee-paying subscribers or on a pay-as-you-go basis. 

Some free information is available from the following market research specialists, ranging from industry news to executive summaries of the reports.

A full listing of reference products and research reports for the industrial sector from Euromonitor, with a range of major market profiles country reports on aircraft and spacecraft. Each report provides a contents listing and a useful executive summary reporting on the key trends in each country report.

Business and industry research specialists offering reports on a wide range of sectors, including space vehicle & missile manufacturing in the US. Report snapshots, table of contents and a sample report are available.

Report from Mintel covering the UK aerospace industry. The website includes a summary and the option to view a contents listing.

Industry news

The Library can carry out industry news searches for ICAEW members and ACA students.

Statistics on the UK

UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy publishes The size and health of the UK space industry, a biennial report analysing performance in the sector.

The data examines:

  • size of the industry
  • value added
  • employment
  • multiplier impact
  • business categories
  • customers
  • applications
  • research and development.

Office for National Statistics

The Annual Business Survey (ABS) from the Office for National Statistics collects financial information covering UK production, construction, distribution and service industries. Statistics available include:

  • number of enterprises;
  • total turnover;
  • approximate gross value added at basic prices;
  • total purchases of goods, materials and services;
  • total employment costs;
  • total net capital expenditure;
  • total net capital expenditure – acquisitions;
  • total net capital expenditure – disposals;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at end of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at beginning of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – increase during year.

The dataset Non-financial business economy, UK: Sections A to S includes statistics for:

  • Manufacture of air and spacecraft and related machinery (30.30)
  • Repair and maintenance of aircraft and spacecraft (33.16)

See Section C: Manufacturing.

Statistics on Europe


Eurostat, the EU statistics hub, collates detailed Structural Business Statistics giving the latest figures for industry, construction, trade and services by sector and country. The indicators available include:

  • number of enterprises
  • turnover or gross premiums written
  • production value
  • value added at factor cost
  • gross operating surplus
  • wages and salaries
  • social security costs
  • gross investment in tangible goods
  • gross investment in land
  • gross investment in existing buildings and structures
  • gross investment in construction and alteration of buildings
  • gross investment in machinery and equipment
  • number of employees
  • number of persons employed per enterprise.

Statistics within the database are available for:

  • Manufacture of air and spacecraft and related machinery (C3030)
    See database section ‘SBS – industry and construction’
  • Repair and maintenance of aircraft and spacecraft (C3316)
    See database section ‘SBS – industry and construction’
  • Space transport (H5122)
    See database section ‘SBS – services’

Statistics on the Americas

Aerospace Industries Association

The US Aerospace Industries Association compiles a range of detailed statistics in its Research Center.

Aerospace Facts and Figures include:

  • year-end reviews and forecasts
  • quarterly balance sheet and income statements for the US aerospace industry
  • employment (including average hours, earnings and cost index)
  • production figures and operating costs
  • US exports and imports.

Aerospace Industries Association of Canada

The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada compile industry statistics with an annual performance report, ‘The State of the Canadian Aerospace Industry’, giving figures for:

  • revenues by region
  • revenues by sector
  • revenues by product application
  • exports
  • investments
  • employment
  • comparative annual performance.

Global statistics


The OECD produces The Space Economy At A Glance, a statistical overview of the global space sector with analysis of activities and output as well as profiles of individual countries. The latest editions are:


The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) collects and compiles industrial statistics known as INDSTAT, which give information on:

  • number of employees
  • number of establishments
  • output
  • value added
  • total wages and salaries.

Statistics by country are available for:

  • Aircraft and spacecraft (3530)

UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade)

The UN compiles and publishes international import and export statistics in the Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade), giving figures for goods traded by value, quantity and weight for each country.

Statistics are available for:

  • Aircraft, spacecraft, and parts thereof (88)



The annual Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES), published by the Office for National Statistics, includes total employee and employment estimates for different industries for Great Britain and the UK. Figures are broken down to show full-time/part-time and public/private splits. The dataset Industry – Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES): Table 2 includes statistics for:

  • Manufacturing of air and spacecraft and related machinery (303)
  • Repair and maintenance of aircraft and spacecraft (33160)

The Office for National Statistics publication Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) includes average employment costs within this sector which can be found in Table 14. Average employment costs are provided for full-time employees, part-time employees and all employees.

The data includes average employment costs for:

  • aerospace engineers

Other regions

Please see individual country profile pages for links to sources of national statistics.

Legislation and regulation


New support for UK space hubs unveiled
Press release from the UK Space Agency providing details of Government backing of a number of new ‘space hubs’ across England, as well as funding to support projects in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Published on 18 November 2020.

Commercial spaceflight
News, guidance and legislation from gov.uk on commercial spaceflight in the UK. Includes information on the establishment of a legal framework to regulate commercial spaceflight and details of government grants to develop the UK spaceflight market.

New laws unlock exciting space era for UK
Government announcement on new space industry legislation which will allow British businesses to compete in the commercial space race using UK spaceports. Published on 15 March 2018.

UK space industry sets out vision for growth
Government news story from 11 May 2018 on the Prosperity from Space Strategy. Published by the industry led Space Growth Partnership, the strategy sets out the UK space sector’s priorities and its vision for enhanced growth over the next decade.

£100m boost for UK space sector to ensure UK is equipped to stay ahead of the competition
Press release from the UK Space Agency, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Jo Johnson MP on 11 July 2017 detailing a £100m package of government funding for the UK space sector. Includes investment in a new National Satellite Testing Facility in Oxfordshire and a new National Space Propulsion Facility in Buckinghamshire.

Introduction of Space Industry Bill shows UK’s commitment to commercial spaceflight
Announcement from the Department for Transport, the UK Space Agency and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy on 28 June 2017. Discusses the Space Industry Bill which will enable new commercial spaceflight technologies to operate safely from the UK.


The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) compiles information on international space law, including links to national space laws for a large number of countries.

Import and export

Trade Tariff

The Trade Tariff is a useful Gov.uk database listing tax, duties and licenses for the import and export of goods between the UK and other countries. The database is searchable by product or commodity code and results can be filtered by date and country. Information also includes links to relevant conditions and regulations.

See import and export information for:

UK key players, ratios and trends

A range of reports on this sector are available to ICAEW members and ACA students via the Library.


Reports on this sector can be supplied by the Library to ICAEW members and ACA students.

UK benchmarking

The Library can supply benchmarking reports to ICAEW members and ACA students.

Trade bodies

Trade journals and publications

Trade journals, B2B magazines and specialist consumer magazines are another useful source of news and statistics.

Further reading

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post or email through our document supply service.

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