The global radiation-hardened electronics for space application market size was valued at USD 2.38 billion in 2021. It is projected to reach USD 4.38 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 7.05% during the forecast period (2022–2030). The Radiation Hardened Electronics for Space Environments (RHESE) project aims to advance state of art in radiation-hardened electronics by creating high-performance devices that can endure the harsh radiation and temperature levels of the space environment. There has been a dramatic trend in recent years toward using tiny satellites rather than traditional ones.
In addition, the market has witnessed a shift from the use of tiny satellites for one-time missions to their regular incorporation into satellite constellations. The need for radiation-resistant electronic components has significantly increased with the rapid growth of small satellite constellations for uses like Earth observation, remote sensing, and space-based broadband services. Several projects are underway to produce advanced radiation-hardened electronics with enhanced capability to shield space perturbations at a low cost.
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Growing Demand for Radiation-Resistant Electronics in Commercial Satellites
The demand for tiny satellites is rising as there is a greater need for affordable satellite communication, including military monitoring and surveillance, television content delivery, cell phone connectivity, and agriculture surveillance. For optimal coverage, these commercial satellites are typically launched into geosynchronous orbits and have a lifespan of 15–20 years. Growing communication satellites in earth's orbit have boosted the demand for radiation-resistant electronic devices. To improve the worldwide communication network, the New Space entrepreneurs, including OneWeb, SpaceX, Amazon, and Telesat, intend to launch a mega constellation of thousands of low earth orbit satellites. The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allowed Amazon to launch and operate its 3,236-satellite broadband network. The cutting-edge communication satellites CMS-01, GSAT-10, and APSTAR-7, each with a 15-year design life, are one example of successful high-power communication and broadcasting satellites.
Innovations in Microprocessors and FPGA Technology
The field programmable gate array market is anticipated to grow as more military and aerospace applications, including waveform generation, image processing, and secure communication, adopt FPGAs in the coming years. The increased demand for better bandwidth creates opportunities for enhanced embedded FPGA design at low cost and power. They are frequently used for streaming, data processing, and massive data flows due to their low power consumption and high computational density. In recent years, FPGA-based accelerators have emerged as formidable competitors to GPU-based accelerators in cutting-edge cloud and edge computing systems. Increased usage in security, network processing, and deep packet inspection is anticipated to boost FPGA demand.
Difficulties in Establishing an Authentic Testing Environment
One of the limitations of these radiation-resistant components is the need to create a testing environment that accurately simulates space, a nuclear war, or a defensive environment. Building a radiation-hardened electronics test lab is costly, and highly experienced personnel are required to conduct such tests. Depending on the application's requirements, radiation effect and shielding testing can be conducted using various methods. Facilities for testing utilize radioactive sources, such as Cobalt 60, and other testing methods, such as total ionizing dose (TID), enhanced low dose rate effects (ELDRS), neutron and proton displacement damage, and single event effects. The testing of radiation-resistant electronics is costly since these electronic components are subjected to high-energy ions in their actual application environment.
Increasing Global Space Missions
The growing number of international space missions is boosting the demand for advanced radiation-hardened components, novel configurations, design methodologies, and software models to enhance the radiation tolerance of electronic components. The U.S. was the first to collaborate closely with numerous space organizations and has shown an interest in conducting measures to explore space. Its manufacturing capabilities, testing infrastructure, and qualified personnel make it easier for the nation to carry out these tasks. The nation strongly prefers expanding its commercial spacecraft sector and space tourism. NASA and SpaceX launched Crew-4 in April 2022 with an all-civilian crew to conduct research in microgravity aboard the International Space Station and expand access to space.
The global radiation-hardened electronics for space application market is segmented by platform, manufacturing technique, component, and material type.
Based on the platform, the market is segmented into satellites, launch vehicles, and a deep space probe.
The satellite platform is anticipated to lead the global radiation-hardened electronics for space applications market in the platform segment. A satellite is a device put into orbit to gather data or as a communications network component. Satellites continuously orbit the Earth or another planet. Some remote sensing experts have proposed characterizing plant health from a satellite platform by measuring the light emanating from vegetation canopies in these bands. It is possible to precisely measure the vast spectrum of colors emanating from the ocean using sophisticated radiometers, such as those onboard satellite platforms. As a result, it is impossible to compare images taken by two satellite platforms in different orbits, and each satellite's data must be based on its orbital track.
Based on manufacturing techniques, the market is segmented into rad-hard by design, rad-hard by process, and rad-hard by software.
The rad-hard dominates the global market for radiation-hardened electronics for space applications. Rad-hard by design is an expensive production approach. Still, the resulting components offer exceptionally robust solutions and the most significant radiation hardness rating for harsh space applications such as deep space missions and satellites.
Based on material type, the market is segmented into silicon, gallium nitride, and silicon carbide.
Most radiation-resistant components are built from silicon because it reduces their size and weight and boosts their performance from medium to high speed. Silicon material needs for the microelectronics industry are primarily dictated by the "design rule" of each device generation, i.e., the critical dimension of the technological generation. As a rule, surface flaws that exceed 50% of the critical dimension are regarded as possible device killers.
Based on component, the market is segmented into Onboard Computer, Microprocessor, Controller, Power Source, Memory (Solid-State Recorder), Field-Programmable Gate Array, Transmitter and Receiver (Antennas), Application-Specific Integrated Circuit, and Sensor.
Onboard computers, microprocessors, and controllers are anticipated to be used in new applications requiring increased efficiency, robustness, and capability of microprocessor technology, resulting in the deployment of highly complex, demanding applications in smaller spaces.
The global radiation-hardened electronics for space application market is segmented into four regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA
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North America is the most dominant region in the global radiation-hardened electronics market during the forecast period. The increasing need for radiation-resistant components in commercial and military satellite applications drives this dominance and expansion. Radiation-resistant microelectronics are required by the US Department of Defense (DoD) and other commercial sectors for projects like satellites and nuclear modernization efforts. The US government continuously tries to maintain and improve domestic capabilities in producing radiation-resistant microelectronic components. In December 2021, for instance, the US government authorized the use of the Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III to grow and enhance the domestic industrial base for radiation-resistant microelectronics.
The global radiation-hardened electronics for space application market’s major key players are