Forecast: 1,700 satellites to be launched annually
December 8, 2021
By Chris Forrester
Paris-based analysts Euroconsult say that over the remaining years of this decade to 2030 there will be an average of 1,700 satellites launched each year. The numbers reflect a four-fold increase in numbers (although only a doubling in terms of mass).
Euroconsult says the race is heating up to rapidly deploy commercial mega constellations for broadband communications and new constellations for real time observation of the Earth. Historical space powers invest in new satellite applications (e.g., Space Security Awareness) and a growing number of countries invest in their first operational satellite system, either for telecommunications, imagery intelligence, or space exploration.
The new edition of Euroconsult’s satellite market forecast assessed individually about 170 constellation projects, of which 110 are from commercial companies. While OneWeb, Starlink, Gwo Wang, Kuiper and Lightspeed will represent 58% of the 17,000 satellites to be launched, they will account for only 10 percent of the satellite manufacturing and launch revenues of the space industry. The report identifies two reasons combining to explain this difference: economies of scale in satellite manufacturing and a strong decrease in launch prices.
“Despite a multiplication of commercial constellation projects, only a few place satellite manufacturing contracts, generally with established players. Excluding a few large deals for large constellations and new communication satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO), global competition remains limited for satellite manufacturing. Satellite demand from the governments fuels the competition between local suppliers with still limited opportunities for them to expand internationally (because of national preference in every country where a space industry is established),” says Euroconsult.
“Despite new business models from new commercial players in space, governments still represent three-quarters of the revenues of the space industry over the decade, i.e., $240 billion. Likewise, incumbent satellite manufacturers continue to dominate the market, with four of them capturing half of the market past decade for a value of $87 billion,” the consultants add.
“The satellite sector no longer revolves around the axis of New Space entrants challenging established legacy players. Instead, it has now shifted towards speed, and the ability to rapidly provide commercial services from satellite constellations, be it for broadband and/or narrowband communications (e.g. IOT) or for global and real time observation of the Earth. New Space is no longer the driving force in the industry. It’s all about Fast Space now,” said Maxime Puteaux, Principal Advisor at Euroconsult and Editor of the report.