Crowded Skies: Boom Years Coming for Satellite Manufacturers

By Eric Beidel
NASA may be in decline. Military budgets are expected to shrink. But good times await for the space sector. The next 10 years will see orders for satellites grow by more than 50 percent, according to a leader industry analyst.
Euroconsult, a Paris-based research firm, forecast in its 14th edition of the “Satellites to Be Built and Launched” report that the 2011 to 2020 timeframe will see orders for 1,145 satellites — an increase from 756 manufactured and launched between 2001 and 2010. This will total $196 billion worth of worldwide orders to build and launch satellites.
Government agencies continue to dominate the majority of spending on new spacecraft. Civilian and military agencies will acquire a total of 777 satellites, Euroconsult predicted. About 80 percent of those will come from the major space-faring nations: the United States, Russia, the European countries, Japan, China and India.
“Governments continue to dominate the space market, as satellite systems are critical infrastructure for communications and geo-information solutions for civilian and military users,” said Rachel Villain, director of space for Euroconsult and editor of the report.
“The government market is worth more than double the commercial market, but is largely closed to non-domestic manufacturers. However export opportunities for manufacturers exist with governments in countries with no space industry,” she said in a statement.
A large chunk of these new spacecraft will be Earth-observation systems, which will mean more business for manufacturers of space-based sensors.
“As more national and multilateral agencies require imagery for a variety of purposes, Euroconsult expects over 200 government Earth observation satellites to be built for launch over the decade, making it the largest civilian government satellite application,” the report said.
The increase in spacecraft will also mean a higher demand for launch services. Euroconsult forecasts 203 commercial communications satellites with a market value of $50 billion will be launched into the geo-stationary orbit, some 25,000 miles above Earth, over the next 10 years.
- Reporting by Stew Magnuson

Topics: Space

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