Home Aerospace And Defense Space-based Laser Communication Market Growth, Trends and Forecast to 2031

Space-based Laser Communication Market

Space-based Laser Communication Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By End-User (Commercial, Government , Military ), By Solution (Space-To-Space, Space-To-Ground Station., Space-To-Other Application), By Component (Optical Head, Laser Receivers and Transmitters, Modems, Modulators, Demodulators, Amplifiers, Pointing Mechanism, Frequency Convertors), By Range (Short Range (Below 5,000 Km), Medium Range (5,000-35,000 Km), Long Range (Above 35,000 Km)) and By Region(North America, Europe, APAC, Middle East and Africa, LATAM) Forecasts, 2024-2032

Report Code: SRAD54435DR
Study Period 2020-2032 CAGR 25.9%
Historical Period 2020-2022 Forecast Period 2024-2032
Base Year 2023 Base Year Market Size USD XX Billion
Forecast Year 2032 Forecast Year Market Size USD XX Billion
Largest Market North America Fastest Growing Market Europe
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Market Overview

The global space-based laser communication market was worth USD 1130.26 million in 2022. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 4,100.63 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 25.9% during the forecast period (2023 – 2031).

Space-based laser communication is extremely suitable for performing data transfer in locations that are not suitable for remote locations. Moreover, the technology also provides inter-satellite communications, satellite-to-ground communication, and other applications. The growing number of satellites is one of the most prominent factors for developing space-based laser communication in satellite communication applications. The use of free-space optical communication in space is known as laser communication. In addition to ground-to-satellite or satellite-to-ground applications, communication can also take place entirely in space (through an inter-satellite laser link). Increased bandwidth, which makes it possible to send more data in a shorter amount of time, is the fundamental benefit of employing laser communication over radio waves.

Key Highlights

  • Commercial dominates the end-user segment
  • Space-to-Space dominates the solution segment 
  • Pointing Mechanism dominates the component segment
  • North America is the most significant shareholder in the global market

Market Dynamics

Global Space-based Laser Communication Market Drivers

Rising Number of Satellite Launches for Communication and Earth Observation

Numerous countries have been launching satellite constellations for applications such as real-time earth observation, navigation, technology development, and global internet coverage. There is an extensive demand for satellite constellations in the market owing to the increasing need for faster, reliable, and efficient real-time tracking and monitoring systems for cargo, ships, etc., and earth observation (EO). As per the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), more than 1,100 satellites were launched in 2020. These small satellites were launched for commercial, government, and military applications. Large satellites may be gradually replaced with a cluster of small satellites in a single orbital location. Once the technology becomes available, small satellite constellation systems can perform better, cost less to launch, and operate equivalent to conventional satellite systems.

Furthermore, commercial companies such as SpaceX, ICEYE, Spire, Kepler Communication, and Satellogic have been launching small satellites. Also, these companies aim to adopt space-based laser communication between satellite-to-satellite and satellite-to-ground stations for reliable, secure, and high-speed wireless communication. For instance, in January 2021, SpaceX launched ten satellites with inter-satellites into polar orbit. The satellites were launched using a Falcon 9 rocket. As part of the Starlink project, the company plans to launch all satellites with inter-satellite links next year. This is expected to enhance the global space-based laser communication market during the forecast period. 

Alternative Solution to the Overburdened Optical Technology

As the desire for increased telecommunication capacity and internet services grows among consumers and commercial users, the data transfer mode between ground stations and consumers is shifting from wireless radio to optical laser technology. The RF mode of communication is faster than the optical. Still, it requires a license for different frequency segments to avoid interference from various signals within the same frequency range from different applications in a location. This restrains using the complete frequency spectrum available for a particular application. Therefore, it implies a bandwidth constraint. Consequently, the quality of services needs to fulfill the user requirement. Adopting optical fiber eliminates this problem because it allows unlimited bandwidth for transferring data.

Currently, optical terminals support a data transfer rate in Gb/s. However, they can provide the data transfer rate in Tb/s. RF and optical technology work on the same infrastructure except for the transfer mode from a ground station to consumers. Optical fiber connects ground stations directly to the consumers. As soon as optical fiber opens the gateways to high bandwidth, the ground stations must increase their capacity for transferring data at a high rate. A high-throughput satellite supports high bandwidth for transferring vast amounts of data at a good pace. An increase in the adoption of optical fiber technology creates opportunities for ground station equipment developers.

Global Space-based Laser Communication Market Restraint

Difficulties in Creating Laser Communication between Satellite and Ground Stations

Unfavorable environmental conditions such as fog, rain, haze, smoke, sandstorms, water vapor droplets, and snow are significant factors affecting the performance of space-based laser terminals. Fog, rain, and water vapor droplets cause a lot of interruptions in the performance of the space-to-ground link. The presence of fog, rain, and water vapor droplets stops data transmission due to the high light absorption rate, refraction, and complete reflection.

The fluctuations in air pockets' temperature may affect the signal's strength during the transmission between the transmitter and receiver. One of the primary reasons behind this is the increasing heat from the Earth and man-made factors like heating ducts, which ultimately lead to amplitude loss at the receiver end. Moreover, any physical hindrance, including birds, planes, and people that happens to be in the path of light transmission, leads to collisions that result in signal scattering. Thus, all the above environmental factors have become significant challenges for the global space-based laser communication market. 

Global Space-based Laser Communication Market Opportunities

Connectivity Requirements in Rural Areas and Developing Countries

The maturation of satellite connectivity solutions in developed nations and metropolitan regions of developing countries has generated a red ocean market, and industry players are engaged in exploring new methods of revenue generation. One of the significant market opportunities lies in developing connectivity solutions for rural areas in developing countries. The rural areas in developing and underdeveloped countries are untouched and can provide novel market opportunities.

Major satellite communication companies are actively generating opportunities from these regions like Africa. A proactive government approach toward integrating these technologies and infrastructure support allows companies to ensure smooth operations. For instance, in June 2020, the South African government announced its plans to invest in satellite communication and broadband expansion project. The country’s government has planned a ‘Space Infrastructure Hub’ to enable the development of satellite infrastructure, satellite-based augmentation systems, and earth observation satellites.

Regional Analysis

North America Dominates the Global Market

Based on region, the global space-based laser communication market is segmented into five regions, North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Rest-of-the-World.

North America is the most significant global space-based laser communication market shareholder and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 27.9% over the forecast period. The growing satellite mega-constellations by various new government and commercial manufacturers, such as SpaceX, Telesat, and Space Development Agency (SDA), for laser-based communication between satellite-to-satellite and satellite-to-ground stations are going to raise the demand for space-based laser communication terminals. Furthermore, the growing deep-space mission programs due to a spike in demand for commercialization of space in the region, especially in countries such as the U.S. and Canada, will raise the demand for space-based laser communication components.

Europe is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 39% over the forecast period. As one of the most active members of the European Space Agency (ESA), the country's space sector has grown rapidly in recent years and is only anticipated to continue expanding in the years to come. The country has launched several satellites in the past two decades and is planning to increase its satellites to expand its operations in space. Thus, the companies developing space-based laser communication terminals are interested in funding and investing in the region. The region has seen an upsurge in space-related organizations in the U.K. with their increased efforts to ensure continuous technological advancements in nano and microsatellites by using new technologies.

Asia-Pacific is the third largest region. The Asia-Pacific region comprises the regional markets of China, Japan, India, and the Rest-of-Asia-Pacific. The space-based laser communication market in this region is dominated by China in both product innovations and making strategic partnerships with market leaders. The domain of Asia-Pacific's space industry has been expanding globally over the years, with new players and governments concurrently developing new space systems. Asia-Pacific's space-based laser communication industry is increasingly becoming a significant part of the global industry. The region is one of the strongest growing economies globally, with the highest population density. Exploration of new technologies like quantum communication satellites and increasing adoption of satellites for monitoring and surveillance amid rising geopolitical conflicts are expected to support new market opportunities. 

Report Scope

Report Metric Details
By End-User
  1. Commercial
  2. Government 
  3. Military 
By Solution
  1. Space-To-Space
  2. Space-To-Ground Station.
  3. Space-To-Other Application
By Component
  1. Optical Head
  2. Laser Receivers and Transmitters
  3. Modems
  4. Modulators
  5. Demodulators
  6. Amplifiers
  7. Pointing Mechanism
  8. Frequency Convertors
By Range
  1. Short Range (Below 5,000 Km)
  2. Medium Range (5,000-35,000 Km)
  3. Long Range (Above 35,000 Km)
Company Profiles Tesat Spacecom BridgeComm SpaceX General Atomics Hensoldt Space Micro Thales Alenia Space
Geographies Covered
North America U.S. Canada
Europe U.K. Germany France Spain Italy Russia Nordic Benelux Rest of Europe
APAC China Korea Japan India Australia Taiwan South East Asia Rest of Asia-Pacific
Middle East and Africa UAE Turkey Saudi Arabia South Africa Egypt Nigeria Rest of MEA
LATAM Brazil Mexico Argentina Chile Colombia Rest of LATAM
Report Coverage Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends
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Segmental Analysis

The global space-based laser communication market is segmented by end-user, solution, component, and range.  

By end-user, the global space-based laser communication market is segmented into commercial and government, and military segments.

The commercial segment dominates the global market and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 27.4% during the forecast period. This is due to the growing adoption of laser terminals by major industry players like SpaceX, ICEYE, Kepler Communication, and Telesat for satellite-to-satellite and satellite-to-ground station communication, thereby driving the market segment. For instance, in the first quarter of 2021, SpaceX and Kepler Communication launched 20 satellites with laser links for commercial applications. Furthermore, reducing manufacturing, launch, and operational costs with privatization in the space industry has generated market competitiveness. Increasing usage of data for various purposes and increasing machine-to-machine interactions are anticipated to cater to the rising market demand.

Based on the solution, the global space-based laser communication market is segmented into space-to-space and space-to-ground stations.

The space-to-space segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 27.8% during the forecast period. Space-to-space communication is the most prominent application for the growth of the global space-based laser communication market. An increasing number of small satellites in more prominent constellations require inter-satellite communication links for applications such as communication, earth observation, technology development, remote sensing, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. For instance, in January 2020, Space X launched ten satellites under its first rideshare mission named Transporter-1 to the polar orbit for demonstrating space to space laser communication system at an altitude of 560 km and an inclination of 97.6 degrees.

The space-to-ground station is the second largest segment. Space-to-ground station communication requires bi-directional space-based laser communication terminals. These terminals can perform uplink and downlink to and from a satellite. The advantage of these terminals is that their use is wider than the areas covered by the terrestrial ground network. They can be used in all geographical locations on the Earth’s surface. These terminals can be as small as a mobile phone with an antenna. Space-to-ground station laser-based communication is in the demonstration phase, as crucial players face challenges communicating with lasers. Unfavorable atmospheric conditions such as fog, rain, haze, smoke, sandstorms, water vapor droplets, and humidity presence are significant factors affecting the performance of space-based laser communication through increased attenuation.

By component, the global space-based laser communication market is segmented into optical heads, laser receivers and transmitters, modems, modulators, demodulators, amplifiers, pointing mechanisms, and frequency converters.

The pointing mechanism segment owns the highest market share and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 27.3% during the forecast period. Pointing mechanisms are prominent components of space-based laser communication terminals. They comprise electromagnetic circuits, which include sensors, coils, and other components. These components are positioned 90 degrees from each other around the circumference. Four permanent magnets are inserted on the mirror platform, while four corresponding coils and coil cores are inhabiting within a fixed source. Thus, most of the components are stationary. All circuit points magnetically pull toward the mirror platform.

By range, the global space-based laser communication market is segmented into short-range (below 5,000 km), medium-range (5,000-35,000 km), and long-range (above 35,000 km).

The short-range (below 5,000 km) segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow a CAGR of 28.7% during the forecast period. The connectivity of satellite-to-satellite and satellite-to-ground stations is enabled using short-range laser terminals. It allows short-range inter-satellite point-to-point communication to transmit data at high rates. Satellites for low earth orbit (LEO) and medium earth orbit (MEO) are preferred for this range. Various companies are developing short-range space-based laser communication, including Tesat Spacecom, BridgeComm, Inc., and Laser Light Communications. For instance, in February 2020, BridgeComm partnered with Cailabs to improve laser communication architecture between space, airborne, and terrestrial solutions. 

Market Size By End-User

Recent Developments

  • March 2023 - With the creation of the TESAT Government, TESAT, the world leader in optical communication technologies, is establishing its presence in the United States to support U.S. Government projects (TESAT Gov).
  • September 2022 - As part of the Space Development Agency's (SDA) Tranche 1 Transport Layer, Tesat-Spacecom recently finished the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) of its optical communication terminals (OCTs) for satellites (T1TL). For the evaluation, the SDA and Lockheed Martin, a prime contractor for the agency's tranche 0 (TLT0) and TLT1 satellites, were present at TESAT.

Top Key Players

Tesat Spacecom BridgeComm SpaceX General Atomics Hensoldt Space Micro Thales Alenia Space Others

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How big is the space-based laser communication market?
The global space-based laser communication market size was worth USD 1130.26 million in 2022. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 4,100.63 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 26.9% during the forecast period (2023 – 2031).
Europe has the highest growth rate in the space-based laser communication market.
Key verticals adopting the space-based laser communication market include: Tesat Spacecom, BridgeComm, SpaceX, General Atomics, Hensoldt, Space Micro, and Thales Alenia Space.
Rising number of satellite launches for communication and earth observation and alternative solution to the overburdened optical technology are the key driver for the growth of the space-based laser communication market.
Connectivity requirements in rural areas and developing countries is one of the upcoming key trends in the space-based laser communication market.

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