Futron Report: America, Canada Do Well in Optimizing Space Technology, China Hindered

FUTRON PRESS RELEASE

Futron has released new analysis that benchmarks space technology among the top 10 leading space powers, which identifies specific technologies where countries optimize their economic and industrial competitiveness, or vice versa, where nations fail to effectively leverage technical capabilities. The release of Futron’s 2010 Space Technology Capacity Index represents an important milestone in integrating technology capability and use into national space competitiveness.

According to Ms. Peggy Slye, Futron’s Chief Operating Officer, “Managing technology development at the national level requires insight into technical requirements of space programs, but, also, increasingly, must incorporate the source of technology development as well as how products and services are disseminated in a globalized and commercial space industry.”

For example, the Technology Index finds that the U.S. technological leadership is buoyed by the contribution of the industrial sector, which effectively markets, uses, and sells technology assets to government and commercial clients worldwide. Canada represents another country that effectively disseminates its technology.

“Canada overcomes some of the country’s technology limitations by focusing strong policy and governmental support for specific space activities that maximize the country’s space competitiveness. By focusing on robotics and ISS activity, Canadian technology plays a principal role that extends beyond its core capabilities,” states Mr. Jay Gullish, one of Futron’s senior program managers.

The assessment, conversely, indicates that China does not effectively leverage its high space technology achievement capability, in part due to the government commercial policy and limited private-sector industrial activity.

Ms. Alyssa Mueller, Futron’s lead for Technology Management, indicates, “Assessing the availability and maturity of key technology is critical to a country’s success in the space environment. The Technology Index produces a ranking of not only technology disciplines, but also a country’s ability to fully integrate these areas into national missions and international projects. As part of Futron’s annual Space Competitiveness Index, Futron’s assessment of technology capability provides a benchmark from which policy-makers can manage and utilize national technology assets.”

The Technology Index has been developed as a method to analyze space technology capability levels as an overall element of space competitiveness. It compares the 10 nations included in Futron’s SCI, ranking them on the basis of their demonstrated achievements in space technology relative to each other and then placing those achievements into a context of the underlying or supporting scientific and technological (S&T) environment that relates to overall space competitiveness.

By assessing capabilities in the key technology areas, which enable a country to explore and exploit the space environment, the Technology Index produces a ranking of countries on the basis of which, the most competitive national space technology enterprise is demonstrated.

The following figure provides the high-level ranking for Futron’s 2010 analysis:

About the Technology Index

Futron’s Space Technology Capacity Index (Technology Index) is a companion to Futron’s 2010 Space Competitiveness Index (SCI), and is provided as part of the larger report. The 100+ page report, in its third year, evaluates nations across 50 individual metrics in order to rank the 10 countries currently leading in space competitiveness. The Space Technology Capacity Index is based upon a set of internationally comparable metrics, both qualitative and quantitative in nature. The metrics are integrated into a quantitative model that allows the identification and assessment of national areas of strength and weakness in both space technology capabilities, and the ability to leverage that technology as an element of space competitiveness. For purchasing information, please visit http://www.futron.com/SCI_2010.xml.

Futron Space Technology Capacity Index Executive Summary

Futron’s Space Technology Capacity Index (Technology Index), now in its second iteration, is a companion to Futron’s 2010 Space Competitiveness Index (SCI), which is a statistical benchmarking tool used to track the space industry by collecting, analyzing, and evaluating 50+ data sets in order to assess ongoing trends in national space competitiveness. The Technology Index augments this evaluation by developing a method – and additional data sources – to analyze space technology capability levels as an overall element of space competitiveness. The Technology Index compares the 10 nations, ranking them on the basis of their demonstrated achievements in space technology relative to each other and then placing those achievements into a context of the underlying or supporting scientific and technological (S&T) environment that relates to overall space competitiveness. By assessing capabilities in the key
technology areas, which enable a country to explore and exploit the space environment, the Technology Index produces a ranking of countries on the basis of which, the most competitive national space technology enterprise is demonstrated. Figure 1 provides the high level rankings based on a weighted
model that incorporates data on: launch vehicles, remote sensing, communications satellites, satellite navigation, exploration, and manufacturing.

Figure 1: Top-level Findings of Futron’s 2010 Space Technology Capacity Index

The Technology Index is based upon a set of internationally comparable metrics, both qualitative and quantitative in nature. The metrics are integrated into a quantitative model. A key feature of the Technology Index is the use of a unique composite indicator developed exclusively for this study known as the Space Technology Achievement Component (Achievement Component). This Achievement Component compares countries’ indigenous technology achievements and capacity across the full range of space activities, including launch, satellite capabilities, and manufacturing. The following Figure 2 illustrates how Futron’s Technology Index ranks countries’ technologies.

Futron’s Technology Index identifies how countries can “punch above their technological weight” or vice versa, in how technical capabilities are integrated into their overall space-related competitiveness enterprise. The Technology Index allows the identification and assessment of national areas of strength
and weakness in both space technology capabilities, and the ability to leverage that technology as an element of space competitiveness. For instance:

  • Japan emerges in the 2010 Achievement Component as the leader in the launch vehicle category. This development is based upon the first successful launch of the H-2B vehicle in September of 2009 – a development that occurred after the 2009 Space Competitiveness Index was published.
  • The United States enjoys an overall leadership position, based on its significant capabilities level in all included technologies.
  • Canada, although it does not possess a broad set of space technology capabilities, exhibits notable strengths in remote sensing, where this ranking places it behind only the U.S. and Europe.
  • The Communications Satellite capability category shows the most balanced capability scores across all nations of any of the technology categories included.