Global Commercial Satellite Manufacturing Spending, 2016 and Beyond Infographic
US spending on commercial satellite manufacturing in 2016 primarily driven by orders awarded to
- Maxar Technologies,
- NGIS (formerly Orbital ATK), and
- Lockheed Martin.
Of those awarded contracts, more than $900M was for well-established communications operators including Intelsat, Eutelsat, and EchoStar.
Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space also contributed roughly 60% of European spending for commercial satellite manufacturing. SES and Iridium Satellite LLC are among the top European customers in 2016.
The bulk of global commercial orders stems from a mixture of demand for large GEO-based satellite replacements, as well as ones intended to provide operators with additional capacity.
Most of these communications satellites will have a 12 to 15-year design life once in orbit. These operators implement milestone-based payment schedules, creating differences in spending spread within the standard 2 to 3-year GEO communications satellite manufacturing timeframe.
More GEO communications orders will demand supplementary heavy-lift launch services from providers like SpaceX and Arianespace. Meanwhile, smallsat operators will remain subject to rideshare opportunities until the small launch sector matures and enables dedicated orbital delivery services.
As global orders for large commercial GEO satellites remains subject to market cyclicality, near-term spend on smaller LEO-based communications systems from operators like OneWeb and Telesat is expected to drive manufacturing spending.
Avascent also anticipates that commercial smallsat Earth observation systems will gain traction as more tech-demonstration satellites begin to enter service and test out operational capabilities.