Satellite delivery has “long and growing future”
September 19, 2019
A report from Northern Sky Research (NSR, Global Satellite Capacity Supply & Demand) states that despite slow growth in satellite supply and capacity over the past few years, the next ten years will see 1155 satellites (more than 500 kgs in size) likely to be ordered, and some 1285 will be launched.
NSR says that Earth/science Observation as well as Communications demand will grow over the decade.
“Both Geostationary and Non-GEO markets will remain stable. The latter is expected to dominate, with over $140 billion in cumulative manufacturing and launch revenues,” notes the report. “Government/ Military satellites will dominate the overall non-GEO market, as most commercial non-GEO systems are <500 kg. The GEO commercial market will experience a steady transition, as manufacturers and launch service providers try to creatively address the tailored requirements of operators.”
“GEO communication satellite orders have been on a decline over the last few years, as the operators remain unclear about their future”, comments Shagun Sachdeva, NSR Senior Analyst and report co-author. “While the market is unlikely to reach the heady years of 18-20 annual Commercial GEO orders; increase in manufacturing efficiencies, availability of software defined small GEO satellites, and highly competitive launch prices are opening up new opportunities. GEO Commercial satcom satellite demand is expected to stabilize at an average of 13-15 satellite orders annually,” Sachdeva adds.
Launch providers, like manufacturers, are re-examining their internal processes to cut costs and remain competitive in the market.
“We are seeing established launch players phasing out their veteran launch vehicles in an effort to replace with upgraded versions, as well as over 100+ new launch actor hopefuls vying to enter the market worldwide, all looking for an edge by offering flexible and innovative solutions to their customers,” notes Leena Pivovarova, NSR Analyst and report co-author. “From reusability, to launches from a sea platform, to a blend of dedicated and rideshare offerings – launch service providers are considering different ways to lower the internal costs and offer better services to the customers. Cumulative revenues of $63B are expected from launch markets over the next decade.”
As the uncertainty in the market continues with declining capacity prices and the future of LEO satellite constellations, the industry will experience a key time of transition on a global scale. While the market is unlikely to return to traditionally accepted norms, new opportunities have begun to emerge for industry actors to grasp. Competitive pricing will be important to win more orders as operators continue to remain cautious of CAPEX spending, with internal cost reduction being essential for the survival of both the manufacturers and launch providers.