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NSR Report Projects over 1,600 Satellites Worth $250 Billion to be Launched over the Next 15 Years

Industry to Emerge from Cyclical “Trough” with New Crest in 2016 Averaging 70 Launches Annually


CJune 7, 2011


According to NSR's newest market research report, Global Satellite Manufacturing and Launch Markets released today, the industry should launch satellites worth collectively over $250 Billion over the next 15 years. NSR expects that the stability offered by GEO ComSat replacements, the Ka-band/HTS “me too” syndrome, Government contracts and the steady stream of Science & Navigation missions should see over 1,600 satellites launched by 2025.

“At an average of 110 satellites launched per year, we expect the industry to peak again around 2016 crossing $20 billion annually” according to the study’s author and NSR Senior Analyst, Prashant Butani. “This is a significant increase over the last 15 years, which saw a total of slightly over 1,500 satellites at an average of about 100+ satellites per year. However, one big challenge facing the industry is the limited number of launcher options available to operators, which should see some ‘unusual’ launch contracts being announced soon,” stated Butani.

Manufacturers are struggling to work around the bottlenecks associated with TWTAs for commercial GEO ComSats. At the same time, they have to respond to powerful clients that are increasingly demanding for them to share the risks. The manufacturing industry’s recent moves towards service provisioning may seem like an adequate response, but NSR’s report questions whether this trend has more to it than meets the eye.

The satellite manufacturing and launch industries are doing their best to cope with the pressure on margins, incremental growth and capital intensive processes. For the Launch market, a significant question is how much penetration the Europeans and Russians will get into the U.S. market over the next decade. The impending return of Sea Launch and the onset of SpaceX are also trends to monitor closely in the next several years. NSR’s report forecasts a total of over 1,000 launches over the next 15 years, again significantly higher than the years gone by.

Regionally, domestic operators have stepped up to add volume to order books and despite regulatory challenges, manufacturers and launchers are looking at individual country markets very seriously. “As the industry settles down after the recent spate of MSS capital expenditure, most providers will look to rely on FSS, HTS and Government satellites for the next decade. These will come, almost in equal measure, from international and domestic satellite operators,” noted Butani. While North America and Western Europe will continue to account for over 50% of the market, significant growth opportunities for the next decade lie in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.