Report: Satellite constellations worth $235bn
March 18, 2022
By Chris Forrester
The growing number of either existing or future projects in the satellite communications (and Earth observation) segments are projected to have an overall value of $235.2 billion (€212.7bn) according to a study from Northern Sky Research (NSR). The likes of Elon Musk’s Starlink, the UK/India-backed OneWeb plus other major projects from the likes of Telesat of Canada and Jeff Bezos’s Project Kuiper are also tapping into the potential market.
NSR’s report finds that COTS usage (commercial-off-the-shelf) components and launch reusability are key technology innovations shaping the 17 per cent CAGR Growth for the Satcom and Earth Observation (EO) Constellation Market.
The increased usage of COTS components has opened up the Space Industry value chain, enabling rapid space asset production, while achieving fractional costing benefits. On the launch side, the usage of reusable vehicles enables low-cost access to space. Smaller launch vehicles have also entered or are planning to enter the market with low-cost flexible solutions for constellations or small satellite operators widening the potential player field.
“As business and technological challenges are met and overcome, the constellation business case strengthens,” states NSR report author Vivek Suresh Prasad. “While upstream market price and production challenges are close to resolution, the largest opportunity currently lies in the downstream market, especially for the Consumer Broadband segment where most players are targeting opportunity capture.”
Challenges still remain in the midstream market, a critical junction in-orbit assets and end-users, where higher flat panel antenna (FPA) prices continue, delaying constellation market growth.
Sustainable midstream growth requires market gaps to be filled and regular investment. Short-term success will require long-term strategy to maintain and grow revenue, notes the report.
Prasad concludes: “Significant recurring manufacturing and launch investments will be required for the constellation market, with demand for new and replacement installations every 3-7 years, depending on application and orbit. Overall, with steady infusions of investment meeting demand, the constellations market upwards trajectory is set to continue.”