‘Fourfold increase’ in satellites over the next 10 years to 17,000
There will be 17,000 satellites launched over the next 10 years, a fourfold increase over the previous 10 years, says satellite consultancy Euroconsult.
There have already been two years of record satellite launches, says Euroconsult, confirming that the industry is seeing a transition to a new business model, with fast-growing constellations of small satellites.
Maxime Puteaux, principal advisor at Euroconsult and editor of the report, said: “The satellite sector … has now shifted towards speed, and the ability to rapidly provide commercial services from satellite constellations, be it for broadband and/or narrowband communications or for global and real time observation of the Earth.”
The 17,000 satellites expected to be launched in the next decade reflect what he called “structural changes in the whole space ecosystem and a limited short-term impact of the pandemic”.
Euroconsult added: “The race is heating up to rapidly deploy commercial mega-constellations for broadband communications and new constellations for real time observation of the Earth.”
A growing number of countries are investing in their first operational satellite system, either for telecommunications, imagery intelligence, or space exploration.
The report covers 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% of the satellite manufacturing and launch revenues of the space industry.
Euroconsult said there are two reasons to explain this difference: economies of scale in satellite manufacturing and a strong decrease in launch prices.
Excluding a few large deals for large constellations and new communication satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO), global competition remains limited for satellite manufacturing, says the report.
Governments still represent three-quarters of the revenues of the space industry over the decade – US$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.