The space propulsion systems market is expected to grow with a CAGR of more than 4% during the forecast period.

  • In the last fifteen years, the business of space exploration changed substantially, with space startups and private corporations joining governments in creating and launching satellites and other spacecraft with the launch vehicles. Thus, the demand for the space propulsion systems has increased.
  • The shift from traditional propulsions (chemical propulsion system) in spacecraft to the new generation propulsions systems (electric propulsion system) is expected to open new market opportunities in the coming years.

Key Market Trends

The Launch Vehicle Segment Accounted for the Largest Market Share in 2019

As of 2019, the launch vehicle segment had the highest market share in the space propulsion systems market. The large share of the market is primarily due to the higher cost of the propulsion systems in the launch vehicle compared to the propulsion systems in the spacecraft. The amount of thrust which needs to be generated for taking a spacecraft or a satellite to the orbit is thousand times more compared to the thrust required by the satellite to deliver small and precise impulses to accurately control the position or attitude of the satellites in the orbits. The number of launches of small satellites, whose propulsion systems are a lot cheaper compared to that of conventional satellites, has increased a lot in the recent past. This is also a reason for the expected reduction in the market share of the spacecraft segment.

The United States Dominated the Market in 2019

The United States dominated the market in 2019, mainly due to the ongoing space launches and new product developments in the country. The growth of space propulsion systems market in the United States is majorly driven by the on-going space exploration missions carried out by NASA and the increasing satellite launches by the US Department of Defense. The United States made 22, 29, and 31 orbital launches in the years 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively. NASA is investing in startup companies to develop advanced propulsion systems for small satellites. In June 2019, NASA selected six research and development projects under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Phase II funding for the development of new high-impulse thrusters and communication technologies for spacecraft. NASA is also working on the Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) project, which is aimed at extending the length and capabilities of ambitious new exploration and science missions.

Competitive Landscape

Some of the prominent players in the space propulsion systems market are Safran SA, Blue Origin, Moog Inc., Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc., and SPACE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGIES CORP.. The market of space propulsion systems is highly fragmented with many players providing a wide range of products from small components of propulsion systems to complete propulsion systems. The investment supports by various government and space agencies for the startups are expected to ease the entry of new players into the market in the years to come. Players in the industry are acquiring smaller technology companies to increase their capabilities. For instance, Aerojet Rocketdyne acquired 3D Material Technologies (3DMT), to increase its capabilities in additive manufacturing technologies to reduce costs and improve the efficiency of proven rocket engines. Strategic acquisitions like these are expected to make the market further competitive.

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