More than 1800 new satellites will be ordered and launched over the next 10 years, according to a report from Northern Sky Research (NSR), and in the process generate $300 billion across global markets.
These satellites, ranging from so-called mini-sats weighing more than 50 kgs, up to giant telecommunications craft weighing around 6 tonnes, include entirely new operators. New entrants such as Google and the Richard Branson-backed constellations of Low Earth Orbiting craft.
The strong demand experienced in 2013 continued through last year, with 116 satellites launched globally in 2014 and 149 new craft ordered. “Commercial procurements overtook government and military orders for the first time since 2010, a result of restrained government budgets as well as small satellite constellation growth. The growth witnessed in 2014 across multiple segments is expected to continue into 2015,” said NSR.
While traditional GEO communications will continue to be the most valuable commercial segment for the manufacturing and launch industry, satellite services are gradually addressing a broader user base and causing a corresponding change in procurement. “Evolving barriers to entry and new platforms – whether small and cheaply produced or featuring higher power, electric propulsion, and flexibility – are facilitating a diversification of application markets and the emergence of new players across the value chain,” noted Carolyn Belle, NSR Analyst and report co-author.