The government sector (including the military) has historically been a primary driver for the space systems market. However, in terms of population commercial satellites have come to dominate, representing 46% of operational satellites in 2019, in comparison to the 34% share of combined government and military satellites. The remaining 20% is comprised of civil-use satellites, and satellites with mixed functions. The global satellite industry as a whole has a positive outlook, with the industry expected to grow from US$350m in 2019 to US$1 - 2.7tn in 2040. Defense and aerospace giants such as Boeing, Airbus and Lockheed Martin are leveraging their existing experience and expertise to carve out a sizeable position in the defense space systems industry as they look to cash in on the potential of future space systems. However, with the economic potential of the commercialization of space being so great, new, close-to-pureplay firms such as SpaceX and Ball Aerospace are establishing themselves in the market.
The development of space systems will shape the future defense industry. The commercialization of space is a key driver in the contemporary space systems market, with technological advances not only improving the capabilities of satellites but reducing costs throughout the supply chain. Increasingly powerful smallsats, in conjunction with retrievable and reusable launch vehicles, will mean that the global space commons are likely to be dominated by massive commercial constellations, such as SpaceX’s Starlink and Amazon’s Kuiper constellations. However, this commercialization will bring benefits to defense space systems, as cost will reduce, and capabilities increase. It is likely that space will increasingly become a theatre in which peer adversary contest are fought.
- Demand in Space Systems in aerospace and defense will be driven by a number of economic and technological factors such as new technologies including smallsats, new launch capabilities, and ASAT weapons, as well as geopolitical incentives.
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