Space exploration as a propulsive industry in levelling up

Budd, Leslie and Paladini, Stefania (2023). Space exploration as a propulsive industry in levelling up. Contemporary Social Science: Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences, 18(3-4) pp. 357–380.



In recent decades the importance of space exploration and its associated economy and industry have grown significantly. Beyond its scientific, technological, and engineering advantages space exploration has created significant direct and indirect socioeconomic benefits. Apart from economic growth, employment, and providing a fiscal contribution, these benefits include cultural, educational, environmental, and social benefits that can be termed community capitals. There are important distributional aspects to these benefits manifested in the way that the space sector is becoming a propulsive industry within the activity complex form of agglomeration economy. In regard to this potential impact on urban and regional economic development, it appears that the space industry can make a significant contribution to realising the policy objectives of levelling up in the United Kingdom (UK) and cohesion policy in the European Union (EU). The agency of this development is the evolution of industrial strategies and policies based upon the concept and practice of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) which evolves its space variant, Space 4.0. This article explores these possibilities from UK and EU perspectives to address the question of whether the space sector is becoming a key propulsive driver of regional policy in general and levelling up in particular.

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