Some newly orbiting data forecasts relatively modest growth in overall satellite revenue during the next decade despite dramatically boosted launch counts.
A report from France-based research firm Euroconsult projects an average 145 satellites of 50-kilogram mass or more will be launched annually through 2025. That’s a roughly flat level of activity, but the satellite-industry forecast for launches involving micro- and nano-sats smaller than 50kg shows a huge jump during the next 10 years.
Thanks to plans for huge constellations of nano-sats by OneWeb and others, the total of all types of satellite launches through 2025 is projected at a whopping 9,000 launches. That compares with 1,480 launches from 2005 to 2015.
Yet despite the leap in launches, the growth in satellite industry revenue is likely to be much more modest.
“Huge growth in satellite count does not automatically translate to a large market,” Euroconsult report editor Rachel Villain cautions. “As the price of the 7,550 future additional satellites is intrinsically low — the very reason for their existence — their market significance is small. They should represent no more than 8 percent of the $270 billion to be spent building and launching the total of 9,000 satellites.”
Still, another recent report from Euroconsult, projects more notable revenue growth in a core segment of the satellite industry: Earth observation.
“The EO industry is going through a significant supply increase (and) over the next decade 419 (full-sized) satellites are expected to be launched generating $35.5 billion in manufacturing revenues,” report editor Adam Keith said. “Significant growth in the number of commercial satellites launched in constellation is expected. When (microsatellites) are added, the number of supply solutions expands even further.”
That suggests a nearly doubling of manufacturing-related revenue in the niche, as EO launches in 35 countries generated $18.4 billion in manufacturing revenue during the past 10 years.
EO data is used for climate-change and weather tracking, industrial support and sundry other applications.