Independent launch services and a rising demand for global broadband will drive the satellite industry to commission up to 3,300 satellites in the next decade.
Analysts at Euroconsult forecast that US$284Bn will be spent on design, engineering construction, testing and launching satellites between 2018 and 2027. This is around 25% more than was spent in the previous 10 years.
Demand for internet connectivity at sea and in remote geographic locations is propelling investment in low and medium Earth orbit satellite constellations, while more satellites will be added to maintain and grow geostationary orbital networks over the next decade.
New launch vehicle operators, such as New Zealand-based Rocket Lab, provide greater choice for satellite operators to build their constellations for communications, broadcasting, weather monitoring and vessel tracking.
Operator Spire added to its constellation of nano-satellites for ship tracking on 11 November when two were launched on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket. These were accompanied by two satellites from Fleet Space Technologies and a weather satellite from Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems.
Services such as Rocket Lab’s are reducing the costs of launching small-satellite constellations and enabling a jump in the number of satellites commissioned, said Euroconsult.
“The satellite sector is undergoing a massive transformation as more commercial and governmental entities take advantage of constellations to introduce new satellite services,” said Euroconsult principal advisor Rachel Villain.
The consultancy expects more than 40 constellations of various sizes and capabilities to be launched for communications, navigation, Earth observation, meteorology and data collection from Earth sensors.
In the commercial space sector, Euroconsult forecasts around 50 companies will launch almost 2,000 satellites for communications and broadcasting.
However, Euroconsult thinks governments will remain important customers of the satellite and launch industries with more than 1,300 satellites to be launched over the next 10 years for about 70 countries.
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