Nov 07, 2009

Space markets post strong growth, defy economic crisis

Estimated Article Reading Time: 3 min.

…………. from Euroconsult Report…

Among three market areas surveyed, the civilian or dual civil/military use Earth-viewing satellite sector is experiencing the most dynamic growth. Thirty-four nations will be involved in satellite observation programs by 2018, compared with only eight in 1997.

Revenues have already reached a billion dollars in 2009 and could quadruple within a few years. “The sector is establishing itself as one of the principal boosts for re-launching global economic growth after the recession,” says Euroconsult. About 260 new meteorological and terrestrial observation satellites will be launched in the next ten years. This is double the 128 satellites sent into orbit between 1998 and 2008. Growth to $27.4 billion is estimated for the decade to come, compared to the $20.4 billion in the last ten years. Profits of a billion dollars have been made from sales of data satellites alone in 2009 and the forecasts indicate that in 2018, profits deriving from the business in images will leap to $3.9 billion dollars, an increase of 16 percent every year.

This will also have an impact politically around the world where “green” related environmental monitoring and resource protection programs are increasingly important.

It is an encouraging situation that “reflects the development of a veritable commercial business based on terrestrial observation satellites, the growing number of governmental programmers concerned and an increase in investment in the programs already underway,” comments Revillon at Euroconsult. “The growth in sales of commercial data will create earning opportunities for all the players involved: constructors, commercial operators, service providers and government agencies,” says Euroconsult.

From the report it emerges that governments are the principal investors in the sector, with about 93 (non-meteorological) observation satellites from the world’s principal space agencies headed to the launch pad in the near future. In the meantime, new players are also appearing on the scene.

“Governments have done the lion’s share so far but from now on the number of projects either in the hands of private industry or as the result t of public-private partnerships will increase,” claim Euroconsult specialists. In short, it is an attractive sector.

The images gathered by this huge number of satellites will find a wide variety of applications: primarily security and defense but also environmental applications, natural disaster management, climate change studies and virtual mapping.

In the communications satellite sector the picture is also bright.

Euroconsult expects the global market value of capacity used for the traditional fixed satellite service market to reach around $13.4 billion in 2018, or $16.8 billion including wholesale revenues from emerging BBS systems dedicated to satellite consumer broadband access. Industry consolidation, which will continue, will be offset by the emergence of new regional satellite systems backed by either private or public investors, says the firm.

Average revenue growth for “regular” capacity leasing of approximately 5 percent is still expected in the next five years, largely in line with previous forecasts as a slowdown in the economic cycle of the satellite sector was already anticipated due [not to the recession but rather] to the end of analog broadcasting in certain markets.

Futron, a U.S. based analysis firm finds with its new space competitiveness survey that the United States remains the leading space participant. But its advantages in all three major dimensions of space competitiveness�government, human capital, and industry�continue to narrow as other nations build their investments in space policy, expertise and infrastructure.

“The 2009 Space Competitiveness Index is a tool,” said Futron Chief Operating Officer Peggy Slye. “It offers decision-makers an ongoing benchmark to continuously re-assess the competitive landscape of space activity�and to contemplate its implications for their respective governments, businesses and organizations.”

For 2009 it has found that Asian space powers — China, India and Japan — are in close competition with one another, even as they challenge traditional leaders such as Europe, Russia and the U.S.

Japan posted the single largest gain in relative space competitiveness, due largely to new legislation and improved policy alignment.

Newer and smaller participants such as Brazil, Israel and South Korea maintain niche roles, but are joined — and in some cases challenged — by emerging space actors such as Australia, Iran, North Korea, Singapore, South Africa and others.

Japan posted the single largest gain in relative space competitiveness, in the Futron survey due largely to new legislation and improved policy alignment.