Mixed Results for Canadian Space Sector in 2011

Longueuil, Quebec (CSA PR) — In presenting: The State of the Canadian Space Sector 2011, [Download here] our annual report on the health of Canada’s Space Industry, I want to draw your attention to key data, which measures change in the space sector using a number of indicators, such as sector and category of business activity, regional differences, the value of export revenues and the strength of our manufacturing base.

The results for 2011 were mixed. After four years of successive and sustained growth, this year saw only modest growth pegged at 1.3% overall, with total revenues in the space sector edging to reach $3.483 Billion. Domestic revenues increased by 4.8%, while exports dropped by 2.2%. At the same time, after three years of growth, the space sector workforce stalled and shed 9% or 762 space-related positions, among them 471 highly qualified persons in 2011.

The marginally incremental growth in space sector revenues was evenly distributed among organizations, benefiting the Robotics, Earth Observation and Space Science sectors of the space economy. Collaboration among different space partners is at the core of Canada’s commercialization of innovation and continued growth, as companies, universities and government agencies work together to leverage knowledge and resources. As examples, are the development of AIS SAT-1 for Norway, which involved input from the University of Toronto and Com Dev; and, Canada’s contribution of the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APSX) instrument on NASA‘s Curiosity Mars Rover, which was developed in collaboration between the Canadian Space Agency, the University of Guelph and McDonald Dettwiler and Associates.

In 2011, the report includes more detailed reporting on the sources of government revenue received by organizations to perform space-related work (up from $319M in 2010 to $368M in 2011). The Canadian Space Agency, the Department of National Defence and the Natural Science and Engineering Council are captured as being major sources of this funding. The potential of space assets to deliver terrestrial benefits was demonstrated by collaboration between the Canadian Space Agency and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, which funded the development and improvement of medical diagnostic tools that will help determine the health of Astronauts working on the International Space Station. These devices will be tested on the Station and one day may be adapted for use by Doctors in medical clinics to more quickly provide patients with accurate and timely diagnosis of their medical conditions.

The results of this annual survey: The State of the Canadian Space Sector 2011 have been made possible by the generous collaboration and input of our partners, members of the Canadian Space Program.


Dr. Steve MacLean
President, Canadian Space Agency


  • In 2011, the Canadian space sector generated total revenues of $3.483B, reflecting a 1.3% increase over 2010 results and continuing the upward trend of the past four years. In 2011, growth was evenly distributed among the surveyed organizations and less concentrated among top earners, as was the case for the 2010 results.
  • Over the last five years, total revenues generated by the Canadian space sector have increased by 47% or, $1,111M.  The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) from 2007 to 2011 was 8%;
  • Domestic revenues reached $1.818B, growing at a rate of 4.8%. Non-governmental sources of revenue continue to make up the majority of domestic revenues with 80%. The remaining 20% of domestic revenues are derived from Canadian governments (federal, provincial, municipal), the majority of which is derived from federal sources, especially from the Canadian Space Agency;
  • Export revenues in 2011 decreased by $38M, totaling $1.665B. Once again this year, significant gains were made in the export market by organizations operating in Quebec in terms of the percentage change over last year (increase of 32%). However, losses in the Atlantic region were significant enough to bring total export revenues below 2010 levels. Ontario continues to hold the majority of Canada’s space export market with a 55% share of Canadian space-related export revenues;
  • The Canadian space sector workforce experienced a 9% drop over last year’s results, losing 762 positions across the country and bringing the total space-related workforce to 7,494. Of the total workforce lost, 471 positions were classified as HQP (Highly Qualified Personnel – scientists, engineers and technicians);
  • Regarding the sectors surveyed: Satellite Communications and Navigation decreased revenues by $26M and $35M respectively in 2011, with the sectors totaling $2,703M and $225M. Space Sciences made gains of an additional $66M, reaching $128M; Robotics experienced an increase of $20M, reaching $127M; and Earth Observation gained $15M over last year, reaching $271M in that sector;
  • Regarding the categories surveyed: Applications and Services decreased revenues by $115M, dropping to $2,251M; Space Segment revenues gained $134M, reaching $757M; Ground Segment stalled with a decreased of $1M, with total revenues dropping to $409M; Space Research increased revenues by $27M, reaching $66M;
  • Revenues derived from manufacturing have decreased from last year by $8M, now representing $679M of total space-sector revenues;
  • Defense related revenues increased by $23M in 2011. Defense revenues represent $136M of total revenues, of which $90M were export related and $44M were domestic.
  • Space Research and Development expenditures totaled $69M in 2011, with 44 organizations currently undertaking space R&D projects;.

Export Revenues for 2011

The strongest performing export markets for Canada’s space organizations continue to be the U.S. and Europe, followed by Asia. Exports to Europe continued to drive growth, with a 4% increase over last year. How ever, exports to the U.S. decreased and revenues fell by 5%, or $43M, which led to an overall drop in total space-related export revenues globally of 2.2%.

Of the $1.665B in total exports:

  • €€ The U.S. market represented 48%, or $807M;
  • €€ The European market represented 33%, or $544M;
  • €€ The Asian market represented 9%, or $155M;
  • €€ The South American market represented 5%, or $83M;
  • €€ Oceania represented 3%, or $46M;
  • €€ Africa represented 1%, or $17M;
  • €€ Central America, Caribbean & Mexico represented 1%, or $14M.

Regional- Based Space Revenues

The proportional share of total revenues across the country remains relatively stable from one year to the next, with gradual changes to the distribution by region emerging in the longer trend analysis:

  • In 2011, British Columbia increased its proportional share slightly, representing 6% ($209M) of total revenues. The province now has 2% less of total revenues than five years ago;
  • The Prairies have maintained 8% (now $274M) of total revenues for the last four years in a row;
  • Ontario’s proportional share increased 1% over last year vis-à-vis other regions, now 69% ($2.4B) of total revenues. However, the province’s share has declined compared to five years ago when 76% of Canadian space-related revenues were concentrated there;
  • Since 2007 when Quebec represented only 5% of total revenues, the province has gained steadily and now has 10% ($348M) of total space sector revenues;
  • Atlantic Canada’s revenues vis-à-vis other regions decreased from 11% to 7% between 2010 and 2011, and is now back to the same level of proportional share demonstrated in 2007.