Various approaches to the space economy are considered, its components are highlighted. Space and the knowledge about it, being the bedrock of the space economy, are considered as a public good. The space economy as a factor of geopolitics and realization of sustainable development goals is an area of competition and cooperation for global actors. On the one hand, the leading role of the State and its expenditures now and next in space exploration and development is emphasized, on the other hand, the growing role of public and private companies’ partnership is gaining momentum, including commercial projects for launching people into space not only for research, but also for recreational purposes by reusable launch vehicles. The gap between the USA as a leader of the space economy and its competitors exploring and using space for civil and military purposes has been statistically proven. The traditional disparity between spending on civilian and military projects in space is shrinking, and the parity may be set by 2030. The key role of France – the leading country of the EU and of the countries of the ESA – in the genesis and development of the space economy in the West European part of the continent is revealed. Such an important role of France is largely due to the attention that has historically been paid to this sphere of the national economy, based on the use of nuclear technologies by the only nuclear power in the EU. The dynamics of the space economy is not in favor of France and Europe, largely due to insufficient financing (both public and private), with a great difference between European space budget and that of the USA and China. The conclusion is made that it is unlikely for France (and the EU) to bridge the gap with these leaders in the foreseeable future, despite the planned increase in investments for this innovative sector of the economy.

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