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Deloitte’s Counting the Loonies in Space

future Deloitte astronauts billing in space

That’s loonies as in Canadian dollars, not crazy people. Those are all still here on Earth.

In case you didn’t know, a space race is underway. Not the one that put men on the moon, the one in which global accounting firms figure out how to bill for activities in and around the great beyond. It appears Deloitte is leading the charge (pun intended), though EY is making moves too.

For today, Deloitte Canada is urging its home country to get on this final frontier gig before they get left behind. Why? Money, obviously. Why does anyone do anything?

Here’s the short pitch from a press release:

Space-based activity will be a keystone of the national and global economy over the next century, and Canada’s public and private sectors have the opportunity to be major players. Now is the time to act.

The longer version details the opportunity for economic growth, security, more growth, and economic competitiveness which falls under the growth category. So money, basically.

A new report by Deloitte Canada, in collaboration with Space Canada, states that Canada is well-positioned to benefit from the significant economic opportunities that the space sector presents. However, to do so, the country needs to develop a smart, sustained, and well-executed strategy. The report, Reaching beyond: A $40 billion Canadian space economy by 2040, examines the current role of space in Canada’s economy and its potential for growth and further contribution to the country’s prosperity.

“Space is a domain of awe-inspiring exploration and discovery, but it’s much more than that. Space-based assets and services are now critical infrastructure,” says Scott Streiner, Senior Advisor at Deloitte Canada. “Strengthening Canada’s position in the space sector is a strategic imperative. For the sake of the country’s economic competitiveness and productivity, and to help ensure national security and essential services for citizens, Canada needs to bring energy and determination to the new space race. Now is the moment to act—to build on that progress, mobilize our capabilities and resources, and aim for “40 by 40”—a $40 billion national space economy by 2040.”

Space activity is growing at an unprecedented rate and becoming critical to modern economies and societies, national security, and climate action. It is a domain of tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs, investors, and nations. As impressive as Canada’s space sector may appear, it accounts for only about one per cent of today’s worldwide space economy—despite the country’s economy representing approximately two per cent of the global GDP.

Naturally, the report suggests Canada get in on this space thing and make it a public-private type deal.

Despite the rise in commercial activity, space remains a domain in which public policies and programs—and choices governments make on purchasing and delivering their own services—have an outsized effect on private firms. To realize the full potential of the space sector, purposeful and effective public policy is required. The report outlines clear recommendations for a thriving Canadian space sector, including:

Expanding collaboration: Collaboration between the private sector, academia and government can drive innovation in the space sector. Various measures can help make this happen, such as establishing a virtual platform for companies and researchers to connect, facilitating collaboration between government scientists and private-sector players, and making government labs and testing facilities available to early-stage space companies at a nominal cost.

Some estimates say the global space economy could generate $1 trillion a year by 2040, just 16 short years away. A 2021 Northern Sky Research report found that 500 exabytes of data will come to and from space from 2020 to 2030, a 14x increase from the ten years before (one exabyte = one billion gigabytes). Meaning there’s a lot of money to be made out there and you don’t even have to take your feet off the ground.

The Canadian space economy could be worth $40 billion by 2040 [Deloitte press release]