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Commercial Satellite Industry Continues To Dominate Growing Global Space Business Despite COVID – SIA Releases State of the Satellite Industry Report

Satellite Industry Highlights include:

  • Despite the pandemic, a record number of satellites were launched into orbit in 2020 more than tripling the number launched in the previous year
  • Innovation and investment once again helps drive double-digit growth in satellite broadband, remote sensing/imaging and the number of launches
  • Record-breaking special-purpose acquisition or SPAC investment in commercial space raised over six times the previous total in investment capital
  • U.S. continued to dominate satellite services, manufacturing and the launch industry

Washington, D.C., June 30, 2021 – The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) today announced the release of the 2021 State of the Satellite Industry Report (SSIR), a global summary of the commercial satellite industry.  The 24th annual report revealed that despite the world-wide pandemic, the global space industry continued to grow in 2020 and the commercial satellite industry exhibited record-setting growth in the number of satellites launched into orbit as well as other economic metrics including capital investment in commercial space ventures.

The 2021 SSIR shows that for the third straight year a record number of satellites were launched into space during 2020, more than tripling the number launched in the previous year.  By the end of last year, the total number of satellites circling the earth increased by 37 percent, compared to 17 percent in 2019, to a total of 3,371 satellites.  Innovation piqued the interest level of the investment community in 2020 as special purpose acquisition companies or SPACs raised over six times the previous annual total in investment capital.  The reports also shows that despite several record-breaking or key growth metrics, the global COVID-19 pandemic impacted users of satellite services throughout the year and therefore certain satellite industry revenues during 2020.

Other takeaways from the new Report include:

  • During 2020, the overall global space economy generated revenue of $371 billion, an increase of 1.4 percent compared to 2019.
  • The commercial satellite industry once again continued to be dominant, accounting for $271 billion or nearly 73 percent of the world’s space business.
  • Technology innovations increased data capacity and helped increase subscribers as satellite broadband revenue grew by 10 percent during 2020 to $2.8 billion.
  • Innovations in radio frequency (RF), carbon emission and other mapping capabilities helped increase satellite remote sensing revenues by 12 percent compared with the previous 12 months to $2.6 billion.
  • During 2020, revenues generated by commercial launch services increased by 9 percent to $5.3 billion as the U.S. solidified its market share leadership in launch services.
  • Global satellite ground equipment revenues maintained 4 percent growth over the previous year to just over $135 billion, led by continued worldwide sales of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) terminals such as smartphones and tablets.

“Thanks to the resilience of the commercial satellite industry, it once again dominated the global space business which grew in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tom Stoup, president of the Satellite Industry Association.   “Increased demand for satellite broadband, remote sensing imagery and other services balanced declines in demand for services affected by the pandemic.  Thanks to leaps in domestic innovation, costs to design, build and deploy satellites decreased while U.S. market share in manufacturing and launch services increased.  Nearly 1200 satellites were launched during 2020 and that trend continues as the industry has virtually matched that total in the first half of 2021.

“As costs drop and innovation rises, the value proposition of many space ventures increases.  This helped lead to record-breaking growth in investment in 2020 and several commercial space ventures announced plans to go public via SPAC mergers.  So as we enter this new decade, we are reminded that only the satellite industry can deliver truly ubiquitous, high quality, reliable and often critical emergency space-based services that consumer, government and enterprise customers, demand and require both at home and around the world.”

Produced by Bryce Space and Technology, LLC, the 2021 SSIR derives from proprietary surveys of satellite companies, in-depth public information, and independent analysis, combined to assess the performance of sectors including satellite services, manufacturing, ground equipment and launch services.

To view the executive summary of this year’s SIA State of the Satellite Industry Report, please click HERE.  SIA members receive a complimentary copy of the annual report.  For all others who wish to purchase a copy of the complete report or for more information, please visit the SSIR website page HERE or contact SIA via email at info@sia.org or via telephone at 202.503.1560.

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About The Satellite Industry Association

SIA is a U.S.-based trade association providing representation of the leading satellite operators, service providers, manufacturers, launch services providers, and ground equipment suppliers. For more than two decades, SIA has advocated on behalf of the U.S. satellite industry on policy, regulatory, and legislative issues affecting the satellite business. For more information, visit www.sia.org.

SIA Executive Members include: Amazon; AT&T Services, Inc.; The Boeing Company; EchoStar Corporation; Intelsat S.A.; Iridium Communications Inc.; Kratos Defense & Security Solutions; Ligado Networks; Lockheed Martin Corporation; OneWeb; SES Americom, Inc.; Space Exploration Technologies Corp.; Spire Global Inc.; and Viasat Inc. SIA Associate Members include: ABS US Corp.; Amazon Web Services; Artel, LLC; AST & Science; Astranis Space Technologies Corp.; Blue Origin; Eutelsat America Corp.; ExoAnalytic Solutions; HawkEye 360; Hughes; Inmarsat, Inc.; Kymeta Corporation; Leonardo DRS; Lynk; Omnispace; Ovzon; Panasonic Avionics Corporation; Planet; Telesat Canada; ULA; UltiSat and XTAR, LLC. SIA Affiliate Members include: The Aerospace Corporation; Akash Systems Inc.; AQYR Technologies; Aurora Insight; COMSAT; Envistacom, LLC; Integrasys LLC, Kaman Precision Products; Kencast; Keysight Technologies, Inc.; Media Broadcast Satellite; NB+C; Orange Business Services; Peraton; Plexus Corp; Sheppard Mullin; Skylo Technologies; and Wiley

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