Space technology offers a new frontier for addressing climate and sustainability issues globally. As the new space economy develops, it increasingly overlaps with sustainability in capabilities such as Earth observation, energy, and communications. These developing technologies from public and private companies have forged dual purposes for investors interested in pursuing sustainable goals and returns on investment. The global space economy grew to $546bn in 2022[1]and is projected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2035[2], meaning that this Trillion-dollar growth opportunity is returning more than just financial capital.

The future of space is on an upward trajectory primarily driven by population growth. A growing global population means that humanity can only reach net zero by using space technology.  Satellites offer a unique, fact-based perspective that can help mitigate some of humanity’s most significant challenges. Sustainability is one of the new space economy’s more exciting and underappreciated areas. For example, data from space can help us improve agricultural yields, enable smart cities (IoT), protect against habitat loss, catch bad actors and supply chain intelligence. The potential here is enormous.

Communications satellites provide broadcasting and connectivity, while earth observation satellites offer geospatial intelligence, weather, and climate data. Specifically, space-based earth observation and remote sensing data can improve the modelling and prediction of risks. The insurance industry, for example, is negatively affected by weather-induced catastrophic events like wildfires, floods, and earthquakes. Space companies like ‘ICEYE[3] can identify these weather events and help mitigate risk. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technology, which produces high-resolution imagery, can detect a flood's length, speed, and depth and the assets affected, such as specific cars, houses, and buildings. Insurers then use this data to evaluate claims and make accurate payouts. The introduction of 24-hour global weather monitoring reduces insurance costs and means that insurers can make payouts quicker, making the insurance industry more efficient and reliable. Not only does this enable humanitarian efforts to be more successful in identifying those affected, but it also means significant market opportunities.


How has SpaceTech helped sustainable efforts so far? 

Space technology has been pivotal in assisting the growth and efficiency of nearly every industry, thanks to high levels of private funding and a growing public sector interest. 

  • Food Security – Data from space enables monitoring of illegal activities that deplete resources, such as fishing or piracy. Furthermore, monitoring weather and individual crop health from space allows farmers to maximise crop yields and efficiency.
  • Responsible consumption and production – Satellite companies can monitor greenhouse gas emissions. Including catching individual chimneys that produce CFCs that they shouldn’t be and spotting oil spills that pollute oceans and rivers. 
  • Navigation – Satellite data reduces carbon emissions by providing accurate routes that avoid waste. GPS has revolutionised sustainable developments by saving millions of tonnes of fuel being needlessly burned worldwide. 
  • Agriculture – Satellites monitoring crop health and yield means optimising production costs with data technology and tools to better manage and protect forest landscapes from encroachment, forest fires, and illegal deforestation.
  • Water preservation – Satellites can see the condition of crops and fields from space; from this data, farmers can reduce water wastage by only watering the necessary crops.
  • Connectivity – Global connectivity via satellite communications can provide internet access and cellular connectivity to the entire global population. This means that someone in a rural village has the potential to access leading medical advice and practitioners from anywhere in the world. Not only could this improve the quality of life for 37% of people globally who have never accessed the internet[4], but it could also improve a nation's GDP.
  • Supply chain intelligence – Satellite data can help monitor global supply chains, from mining to transport and ports. It also uncovers links between a company and a competitor’s supply chain. 
  • Aviation – Space technology provides aircraft monitoring, safety, and route optimisation. By 2040, satellite companies could save the aviation industry 6.5 million tonnes of CO2 annually [5].

Space technology has already played a crucial role in advancing sustainable development by facilitating greater transparency and traceability within supply chains and aligning with corporate commitments towards sustainability. The data furnished by space technology is indispensable for realising our sustainability goals. As we continue to build upon existing infrastructure and explore future possibilities, the opportunities for leveraging space technology to drive positive change are boundless. 




[1] Bloomberg (2023). Global Space Spending is Projected to Grow 41% Over the Next 5 Years.

[2] World Economic Forum (2024) Space: The $1.8 Trillion Opportunity for Global Economic Growth.

[3] ICEYE (n.d.) Solutions.

[4] DataReportal, (2022). Digital 2022: Global Overview Report.,of%20the%20world's%20total%20population.

[5] Inmarsat, (2022). Can space help save the planet?