Who Spends The Most on Space Exploration?

Economy | January 14, 2016
Excel Sheet

The US has the biggest budget for space exploration by far, spending over six times more than China, according to OECD figures. That is more than 60% of total expenditures worldwide.

US spending on space-related research saw a dramatic increase during the height of the space race with Russia, from 0.1% of GDP in 1958 to more than 4.4% in 1966. This increase coincided with the global race to reach the moon when US President John F. Kennedy promised that the US would land men on the moon before 1970.

Following Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon in 1969, US spending on space exploration dropped back, falling to below 1% in 1975. As interest in space decreased over the years, it became less of a government spending priority, and by 2013 only 0.23% of GDP went on space.

In 2013, only three countries' space budgets represented more than 0.1% of GDP - USA, Russia and France.