In 2021, the global space market was valued at $388.50 billion and is expected to reach $540.75 billion by 2026. The sector has expanded by an impressive 70% between 2010 and 2020. The space economy is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.84% between 2022 and 2026. Analysts also predict that the space industry will reach $1 trillion in annual revenue by the year 2040, with launch costs lowered by 95%. As the cost of accessing space falls, opportunities for expansion and innovation will increase. The fastest growth is predicted to stem from new space applications and industries.
Space innovation and exploration are becoming more important for countries around the world. The space economy is set to grow at above GDP growth rates and has become a strategic domain when it comes to national defense & security, climate change, and connectivity. Current space infrastructure enables new services and applications in areas such as energy, meteorology, telecom, aviation, maritime, insurance, transport, and urban development.
Private Investment is Fueling Growth
Private equity has been increasing investment in space companies to record levels, especially venture capital. Last year, space infrastructure companies drew in around $14.5 billion in private investment. Next year is expected to see even more investment as funds look for big returns for giving capital to startups and early-stage space ventures. With more private capital fueling space ventures, companies can scale faster and create new innovations that result in further growth in solutions that benefit us both in space and on Earth.
Public Agency and Commercial Partnerships
There has been a rise in public-private partnerships versus government self-investment. Partnering on private launches is designed for long-term sustainability and affordability for NASA, distributing costs among multiple users and reducing costs. These partnerships also help to avert threats and better manage space traffic and debris, better protecting humans that go into space. The International Space Station (ISS) is also benefiting from the partnerships, driving progress and reshaping the future of what space stations look like.
Growth Drives Job Creation
The space economy is seeing the growth of jobs in various areas. Today, the number of jobs in the space sector is estimated to be around 400,000, but that number is forecast to skyrocket to 1.5 million jobs in the future. Workers are needed in accounting, marketing, design, IT, manufacturing, and STEM. Launch services in the United States alone rely on advanced manufacturing, which is the source of 40% of all commercial launches, more than any other country in the world. That brings more than $2 billion per year in revenues to U.S. manufacturing industries.
Licensing Deals on the Rise
Public agencies are updating policy decisions that are opening up more commercial opportunities for businesses, such as government agencies moving away from building and owning actual assets in order to license them from private companies. This gives private businesses a foundation to build and scale. This includes transportation services for rockets and crew members, lunar landers, and commercial space stations.
The Satellite Market
The satellite market makes up the largest slice of the space economy, at more than 70% and growing. Most satellite revenue stems from services such as television, and there is a growing expansion into broadband Internet and mobile connectivity. Satellites use is expected to accelerate in the near future, offering great accessibility to Internet services on a global level. Satellite imagery is also seeing strong gains, accounting for $2.6 billion of the space economy. This is forecast to increase to $17 billion in annual sales by 2040.
Reusable launch systems for orbital vehicles are poised to significantly reduce the cost of journeying to space, opening up possibilities for new and exciting space initiatives that are currently too expensive. These systems will also make routine space missions much more affordable.
To the Moon
Traveling to the moon has gotten a bit of a reputation as “been there, done that.” While it hasn’t been at the top of the space exploration agenda for some time, this appears to be changing as more lunar landings have occurred in recent years, mostly unmanned. The renewed interest is because the moon makes a good testing bed for new technologies that will ultimately be used to land on Mars, using instruments designed to find, extract, and process elements from the surface.
The focus of these smaller missions will be on sending autonomous instruments designed to locate, extract, and process elements from the moon’s surface. In fact, 2022 has been slated for nine separate missions to the moon, two of which have already been launched. The U.S., Russia, Japan, and India all plan to deliver robotic landers to the lunar surface this year. There are six lunar missions slated for 2023.
Governments are increasingly investing in space innovation to address climate change. Space technology has been recognized as one of the United Nations’ keys to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. For example, the reflective materials developed to conserve heat in spacecraft are now commonly used to insulate buildings on Earth. Another example is MethaneSat, which is designed to identify and track sources of methane emissions on our planet, a primary contributor to climate change. There are also projects underway that are using infrared cameras on satellites to monitor thermal emission threats around the world and using satellite imagery to map tree cover and deforestation.
As research and exploration in space advances, space tourism continues to emerge, with several private companies getting involved to make the concept more tangible for more people in the future. Other growing trends and demands include:
- Uninterrupted Internet
- Small satellites
- Space resource utilization (SRU)
- Micro and small launch operations
- In-space manufacturing
- Asteroid mining
- Payload & telemetry data
- Earth observer (EO) data
- An interplanetary transportation system
In 2021, the commercial space segment held the highest share of the market at 76% due to the proliferation of commercial players in the space economy.
Among the fastest growing segments are satellite communication, with a CAGR of 7% and uninterrupted Internet at a CAGR of 25% between 2022 and 2026. This is due to the growing need for expanded communication technology infrastructure in remote regions and the rising demand for access to consumer broadband, respectively.
In North America, the Earth observation space economy accounted for the largest share (almost half) of the global market in 2021. Meanwhile, Africa and the Middle East’s satellite navigation space economy is the emerging region in the global market, growing at a CAGR of 11%. This is due to collaboration between Africa and the EU, resulting in satellite navigation technologies that could positively affect economic growth.
Europe: Michael Lawrie at +44 (0) 161 359 4400 / Enquiries@BenchmarkIntl.com
Americas: Sam Smoot at +1 (813) 898 2350 / Smoot@BenchmarkIntl.com
Africa: Anthony McCardle at +27 21 300 2055 / McCardle@BenchmarkIntl.com
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