The aerospace industry combines aviation and spaceflight—both manned and unmanned. Due to the longer history of aviation, most aerospace organizations are private companies which release yearly or quarterly reports to the public. However, governments, and especially militaries, still provide a large portion of aerospace industry data.
Changes to the industry will come as aviation and spaceflight technologies grow and as more private companies begin space launches. But whether there will be a greater distinction between aviation and space travel remains to be seen.
Government organizations, and especially the military, provide most aerospace data, as do intergovernmental agencies like the OECD. Following these organizations, most of this data comes from company and industry reports.
Research institutes studying the industry or the technology that supports flight may also be a source of data.
A lot of this data is economic in nature. Datasets provide information on industry employment within a region or country, on the impacts of manufacturing and supply chains on the areas they operate in, and the amount of money produced by and invested in the industry by the government. The data also contains details on trade between countries and on patent generation and infringement.
Researchers also track the impact of these technologies on the environment.
Governments, international organizations, investors, and entrepreneurs all use this data to make investment, educational, and economic decisions that benefit their company or their citizens. Governments, in particular, use this data to improve their national security goals while private companies can invest in new technologies like fully electric airplanes.
Company and industry reports can generally be trusted as false information can lead to severe punishment. In fact, government and military reports can also be trusted, as far as data accuracy goes. They just may not be publishing all the data they have.
For good use of an aerospace industry data set, make sure to maintain up-to-date information. Using a variety of sources will help, no matter how narrow the data set focus. For example, new patent applications from one country could lead to new employment opportunities in another country very quickly, especially as the world begins to open up again post-Covid, where standard operating procedure may no longer suffice.
AIA: Aerospace Industries Association
OECD Library: Overview of the Aerospace Sector: Background
Traditionally, many aircraft manufacturers have relied on global supply chains. In the wake of COVID-19, this trend will probably reverse. Varying COVID rates and restrictions across borders have led to supply chain bottlenecks and other disruptions. In response, more companies will likely prefer to source materials and parts domestically.
[Meanwhile,] NASA plans to land on the moon again by 2024, with hopes to go to Mars in the future. China has developed a space travel rivalry with several nations through 2020. Aerospace companies that can provide competitive space travel equipment could see considerable profits soon.
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