Business leaders have a more positive outlook on space than the general population and are more excited about what space offers (38% versus 33%). They are far keener to work in the industry (20% versus 12%) and more eager to learn about space than the wider public (44% versus 38%).
These are the some of the key findings from the largest ever survey of global attitudes to space commissioned by Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. The report, entitled ‘What on Earth is the Value of Space’, questioned 20,000 people in 11 countries and features contributions from the Director General of the European Space Agency and former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, among other experts in the field.
Despite this positive outlook from business leaders, almost half (46%) see space junk and the danger of collisions as a significant threat, while 39% said they were concerned about polluting space, and a third (34%) are concerned about space damaging the Earth’s atmosphere.
A clear conclusion of the report is that the whole space industry has a big job to explain the benefits space brings to life on Earth, and to showcase the safeguards being proposed to protect Earth and its orbits. These activities have begun as space stakeholders, such as Inmarsat and the UK Government, recently set out proposals to address concerns around space sustainability.
Business leaders generally have little appreciation of the benefits that the space industry is already delivering. Less than one third (30%) of business leaders think that space could help people access the internet globally, while just over one third (34%) appreciate that space is a location for cutting edge scientific research, while only two in five (41%) saw space playing a role in monitoring and helping to address climate change on Earth.
Rajeev Suri, Chief Executive Officer of Inmarsat, said “The fact that business leaders are keen to know more about space is very good news. Our industry will benefit from this open door to reassure business leaders on the plans we have to address their fears – while also showcasing the immense benefits space brings to us all. It is now time for the industry to engage with wider business communities as advocates for our sector, to explain the positive impact space has on their companies and, in turn, on the world.
“Space already enhances our everyday lives in myriad ways. Many financial, transport and healthcare systems are dependent on precise timing from global positioning satellites. Worldwide trade relies on satellite communications for operational and safety systems at sea and in the air. Millions of people in remote locations and those on the move, such as airline passengers, are connected to the internet solely thanks to satellites. Plus, when disaster strikes, satellites provide lifesaving communications for governments and aid organisations when all other forms have been eliminated.”