Satellites are systems that are launched into space to provide various services such as communications, telemetry, remote sensing, surveillance, and so on. Satellites are designed specifically as per their intended application. Depending on the type of application, satellites can be segmented as communications satellites, navigation satellites, reconnaissance satellites, remote sensing satellites and so on. Satellites are also classified as LEO satellites, Sun-synchronous Orbit satellites, and GEO satellites, according to the orbit location. Based on the size, the satellites are categorized as large, medium-sized, mini, micro, nano, pico, and femto-satellites.
The growing utilization of satellites for military surveillance and other defense applications has been one of the major drivers for the market. The military also needs more data bandwidth and reliable communication infrastructure to meet the growing demand from UAVs and modern equipment. The demand for these satellites for commercial applications such as GPS services and the internet, has also increased. There also has been growth in the demand for satellite-based telemetry applications. Along with a rise in demand for reliable telemetry infrastructure, demand for satellite-based telemetry has also increased. Satellite telemetry is used for various civil, commercial, government, and military applications. For example, satellite telemetry is used by researchers to track the movement of targets (e.g. animal and birds) on Earth.
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Major Key Players
The key players for the satellite manufacturing and launch market are Airbus Defence and Space (Germany), Boeing Defence, Space & Security (U.S.), Orbital ATK (U.S.), SSL (U.S.), Lockheed Martin (U.S.), ISS Reshetnev (Russia), Arianespace (France), ViaSat Inc. (U.S.), Innovative Solutions in Space (Netherlands), and GeoOptics (Canada).
According to MRFR, the global satellite manufacturing and launch market is expected to grow at CAGR over 6%, during the forecast period 2017-2023.
The development of all-electric propulsion systems for satellites will contribute in the development of the satellite market. Also, satellites are currently launched by ELV, which can be used for a single mission. The launch of these satellites into orbit entails significant costs, which can be reduced by the development of reusable space launch vehicles. The growth of commercial companies working toward low-cost satellite-based internet services is also expected to open up opportunities for the smaller nano and microsatellites market as many such satellites will be utilized for these programs. The development of 3D printing technology and its utilization to build satellite parts and components has also been one of the growing trends in the market. It will further reduce the building cost and enable the construction of miniaturized satellite components in space, eliminating the need for the launch from the earth.
Miniaturization of electronic components has enabled the creation of more lightweight and affordable satellites while providing the needed advances in technological capabilities. Advances in miniaturized electronics and MEMS technologies have enabled much smaller satellites to provide the same capabilities as the old generation 1000 kg class satellite of 10 years ago.
There have been more than 4,800 launches since the beginning of space activities more than half a century ago. These launches have placed more than 6,000 satellites into orbit. Many of the satellites are decommissioned after the mission life. Thus, only less than a thousand of these satellites in orbit are still operational.
However, there are many challenges associated with design and manufacturing of satellites. Each satellite has to be highly reliable and capable to withstand space environment and launch events while considering the prohibitive cost, safety and certification requirements during the design and build. Also, military and defense segment is one of the major customer segments for the market. The ongoing economic crisis in Europe and defense budget cuts in major markets such as U.S. hamper the growth of the market. Furthermore, there is an increase in space debris because of parts and components for space launch vehicles and the remains of satellites after their end-of-service life. Also, the satellite launch industry suffers from program delays, because of technical, economic or safety reasons.
There is an increased demand for satellites from the civil/government, commercial and military sectors. The markets in Europe and North America have traditionally developed and launched most satellites. However, the growing need for satellite-based infrastructure in emerging countries such as China and India has contributed to the development of the market in the Asia Pacific.
U.S. and Canada are the major markets in Americas for space-based programs. Both countries have advanced infrastructures and are involved in various space programs. Organizations, such as NASA and SpaceX, in the U.S., are developing new systems that are expected to meet the growing demand for satellites in the future. In the U.S., the demand from military and defense sector has been increasing mainly for navigation, communications, and spy satellites.
Satellite manufacturing requires strong technological capability in this field. Currently, U.S., Russia, China, Japan and a few of the European countries have a stronghold in the area of satellite manufacturing. However, along with the growing demand for nano and microsatellite, it is expected that the manufacturing base of satellites will widen to various regions of the world.
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