The World Economic Forum named water supply a global risk in its 2013 annual report. Space assets are helping to mitigate and monitor this risk. In January 2013, the World Resource Institute released the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, a free tool that integrates satellite and ground-based hydrologic data with socioeconomic data.
In 2008, the United States Geological Survey made Landsat data freely available, and the response greatly surpassed expectations. Image downloads from the satellite Earth observation and imaging program increased from an average of 38 per day to 5,700 per day, reaching 14 million downloads by November 2013.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for many space-relevant occupations will grow from 2010 to 2020. Though encouraging, this does not necessarily translate to predicted growth within the space industry, as individuals in these occupations work in a wide variety of industries.
In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, it can be difficult to make full use of satellite data because there is not enough time to fully analyze enough data to obtain practical information. New efforts at crowdsourcing analysis have provided vital information following the tornados in Moore, Oklahoma, and the fires in Black Forest, Colorado.
In 2012, the total civilian U.S. space workforce represented by the six NAICS codes mentioned previously included approximately ## individuals working in more than two thousand establishments. Exhibit 4c provides a snapshot of space employment of some of the organizations likely included in this total.
Space provides a uniquely valuable vantage from which to track conditions and events on the Earth’s surface. The November 2013 typhoon that decimated the Philippines was tracked from space well before landfall, allowing some citizens to be evacuated and countless others to prepare for the storm.
Trends in the global space workforce continue to be mixed, with the U.S. space workforce contracting for the sixth year in a row while space workforces in Japan and Europe saw further increases.
The U.S. space workforce has decreased in size each year since 2006, bringing the current workforce to ##. NASA’s civil servant workforce has remained relatively stable over this period, even as its budget has declined. NASA employed ## civil servants as of the beginning of fiscal year (FY) 2014.
The everyday activities that dominate life are host to space products and services that play unexpected roles. Just as the shift from baths to showers saved water, the new OrbSys Shower promises to go a step further. A mostly closed-loop system, the OrbSys Shower immediately purifies the soapy, used water, cycling it from the drain back into the shower head for reuse.
Given the requirements for advanced skills and education, it is not surprising that space sector jobs command high salaries. In 2012, the average space sector salary was about $##, more than double the average private sector salary of $##. It is also greater than the average annual salary for STEM occupations.