The global satellite bus market size was valued at USD 8.65 billion in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 11.7 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 3.9% during the forecast period (2022–2030).
The satellite bus, commonly known as the satellite's body, contains all satellite elements and associated scientific equipment. Satellite buses are crucial as they are in charge of launching the satellite equipment safely into space. Satellite platforms, also referred to as satellite buses, are becoming increasingly important due to the growing commercial need for small satellites.
A satellite bus is a centralized power or data distribution network that contains thermal control, telemetry tracking and command, an electric power system, an attitude control system, and a propulsion system. It is constructed by the manufacturers based on the specifications provided by the customers and the kind of payload it transports. A satellite bus's capacity is determined by its capacity to carry payloads and complete missions.
Over the past ten years, the satellite sector has seen significant development. It is an excellent need in industries including communication, navigation, earth observation, and several branches of science. This is likely to increase demand for additional satellites, increasing demand for satellite buses throughout the projection period. The need for satellites has risen in recent years from the civil/government, industrial, and military sectors. Currently, countries with adequate capacities in the production of satellite buses include the United States, Russia, China, India, Japan, and a few European nations. However, the production of satellite buses is anticipated to spread to several countries worldwide, along with the growing trend toward producing smaller satellites.
Due to the advantages of small satellites, there has been a noticeable rise in the number of small satellites deployed. They are easier to mass produce and have lower manufacturing costs. Technological revolutions have made it possible to miniaturize electronics, spurring the development of smart materials and, over time, allowing manufacturers to produce smaller, lighter satellites. Additionally, there is a demand for small satellites and miniature rockets due to the numerous start-ups in the aerospace and space industries that have a keen interest in satellite research and design.
Several companies, including OneWeb, Amazon, Telesat, and SpaceX, have declared plans to launch over 40,000 satellites in the following years. As of 2021, SpaceX had deployed around 1,443 Starlink Satellites, all of which are miniature communication satellites. Similar to this, there has been an increase in the use of tiny satellites for defense. And so, it is projected that the need for small satellites will rise due to rising investments in satellite constellation launches, which will fuel the expansion of the satellite bus market.
Government policies at the domestic and international levels directly or indirectly impact how the satellite industry and environment evolve. There is no effective international or national on-orbit regulation mechanism in place at present. The deployment and re-entry of satellites into the electromagnetic spectrum and remote sensing are now governed by stringent laws in the US. Regulations do not apply to actions carried out while in space, such as RF mapping, rendezvous and proximity operations, or space-based space situation awareness (SSA).
Even though more than 70 nations participate in satellite operations internationally, no agreement has been reached. Only a few signs point to a solid international regime in addition to the Outer Space Treaty's high-level principles. Operators have stated a willingness to create laws that would provide investors clarity, but there are worries about onerous regulations that would compel businesses to move to another nation. The market will face challenges in creating policies and rules for the quickly changing commercial space sector in the upcoming years due to the divergent timeframes of operators and policymakers, as well as the significant work required to develop international community agreements.
Government spending on space technology has significantly increased all across the world. Many nations view government investments, particularly those in research & development activities and start-ups, as a way to address social concerns, promote independence from imports, and ultimately become a global source of solutions in a field like space. For instance, Japan recently introduced the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) and the cabinet-level Impulsing Paradigm Change by Disruptive Technologies Program (IMPACT), both of which can support start-ups in the space industry.
The Chinese government pledged USD 339 billion to help new businesses nationwide. Such changes show that the government is making up for the lack of private funding. Additionally, the Industrial Technologies Office of the Canadian government planned to give UrtheCast USD 13 million to support the company's continued development of an X- and L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) constellation on a small-sat platform. Thus, rising government spending presents the satellite bus market with significant growth potential.
The global satellite bus market is segmented into a subsystem, satellite size, and region.
Based on subsystem, the global satellite bus market includes Structures, Thermal Control, Electric Power System (EPS), Telemetry/Tracking & Command (TT&C), Command & Data Handling (C&DH), Attitude Determination & Control Subsystem (ADCS), and Propulsion.
The Electric Power System (EPS) section is projected to advance at a CAGR of 6.61% and hold the largest market share over the forecast period. Solar panels, power regulation systems, batteries, and the power control unit comprise most of the EPS' essential parts (PCU). The EPS is a crucial component of the spacecraft that can account for up to one-third of its bulk. Most contemporary satellites have more internal processing power, which could increase their bandwidth needs. As a result, the processing power of the satellite payload is raised, growing the power needs of the satellite bus. Businesses are creating low-weight and high-power solutions to meet the rising need for satellite power.
The Command & Data Handling (C&DH) section will hold the second-largest share. The command and data handling (C&DH) subsegment, also known as the on-board data handling (OBDH) subsegment, is an on-board computer network that is in charge of receiving, processing, storing, and transmitting data from the ground station through the TT&C segment to various systems on the satellite bus. The manufacturers want open-source hardware and software to be used in satellite buses and low-cost, simple-to-develop systems. Many C&DH improvements for CubeSats were drawn from internal development initiatives started by large corporations producing satellite and spacecraft avionics.
Based on satellite size, the global satellite bus market includes Small Satellites (up to 500 kg) and Large Satellites (above 500 kg).
The Large Satellite section is projected to advance at a CAGR of 1.4% and hold the largest market share over the forecast period. Big satellites are typically deployed in geostationary earth orbit (GEO) and highly elliptical orbit (HEO) for communication applications in the military and commercial industry that must function across vast distances. In 2019, Airbus signed a deal with Inmarsat to design, construct, and assemble the Inmarsat GX 7, 8, and 9 satellites, the first of its new series of geostationary Ka-band satellites. The three satellites are envisioned as the first to be built on Airbus's new OneSat product line. The US space agencies have started several research and development projects. They are significantly funding the creation of advanced military satellites for communication and surveillance to bolster their defense capabilities. Such innovations contribute to the segment's expansion.
The Small Satellite section will hold the second-largest share. Due to its advantage of having comparable capabilities to conventional satellites at a significantly lower production cost, the number of tiny satellites deployed grew between 2012 and 2019. Electronics have been made smaller due to revolutionary technical developments. This has driven the development of smart materials and, in turn, reduced the size and mass of satellites for manufacturers. Due to the increasing rate of small satellite deployment for Earth and celestial observation, space research, and communication applications, many space start-ups are now being developed, creating a market for small satellites and mini rockets.
The regional segmentation of the global satellite bus market includes North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Rest of the World.
North America will command the leading market share, expanding at a CAGR of 3.51% during the forecast period. Significant producers like Northrop Grumman Corporation and Lockheed Martin Corporation can be attributed to this market expansion. In addition, a growing interest in space technology has resulted in various companies, like SpaceX and Virgin Orbit, into the region, contributing to the regional market's expansion. The expansion of the regional market is also anticipated to be aided by the rising number of satellite launch activities in the region by space agencies like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for various applications, including navigation, communication, internet connectivity, broadcasting, and others.
In addition, the government's growing funding of aerospace and space research opens many doors for business expansion for companies in the region engaged in the satellite bus market. The United States is the world leader in satellite development and launch. The usage of satellites has dramatically expanded in popularity throughout the region due to the abundance of possible uses in both commercial and defense applications. The US space agencies are significantly funding the creation of advanced military satellites for communication and surveillance as part of several research and development programs to bolster their country's defense capabilities.
Europe will generate revenue worth USD 3 billion by 2030, expanding at a CAGR of 4.2%. It is anticipated that factors like rising defense industry spending and technological improvements will fuel regional market expansion. The regional government aspires to become a globally competitive space power; hence, it formed the National Space Council to design a national space strategy and conduct an integrated assessment of security, defense, and development policies to provide the circumstances, resources, and environment for a robust, secure, and innovative space sector. Additionally, the region's countries' growing reliance on surveillance and communication satellites to provide better safety and communication to their armed forces is anticipated to increase demand for satellite buses and propel regional market expansion.
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