The value of in-orbit satellite rescue and servicing is forecast to be worth $3 billion cumulatively by 2027 and growing at an impressive 62 per cent CAGR from next year, 2019, when ‘space tug’ operations are likely to commence.
The study, from Northern Sky Research (NSR), says that the use of these ‘life extension vehicles’ will represent the “bread and butter” of the revenue forecasts helped by around 90 satellites as being candidates for in-orbit servicing.
The logic for the forecasts is that cash-strapped satellite operators will prefer to use these lower-cost mission extension vehicles in order to save cash on building, launching and insuring new satellites.
“Salvage of a satellite following maldeployment by the launch vehicle or other inability to reach the operating orbit presents the most opportunistic, but most compelling, value proposition for [in-orbit operators]. With the satellite operator and insurer otherwise facing a full satellite loss (+ 3-year delay for a replacement) and payout, In-orbit providers will be able to charge a premium to recover the asset,” says NSR.