In 2022, there were 186 successful rockets launches—a new record that may point to the increasing ease with which space technology can now be deployed.1 Add to that significant advances in manufacturing and operating space-based assets, and it’s clear that a new era of business opportunity in space has arrived.
This era can offer opportunity to both incumbents within the sector and new players alike. And by focusing on innovation and working across the space ecosystem, there is a range of possibilities players can explore to unlock growth.
Why space, why now?
Getting satellites and other space-based assets off the ground has never been easier. New technologies, such as reusable launch vehicles and miniaturized satellites, have simplified and reduced the expense of manufacturing, launching, and operating these assets. With space systems and assets now generally within reach, a wider range of players are looking to enter the space sector and explore new business applications, including a growing number of venture capital and private equity (PE) firms.2 Over the past decade, the global space sector has attracted PE investment of about US$272 billion into 1,791 companies.3
But it’s the increasing demand for space data and services enabled by satellites that is mostly driving the growth potential in this market. Government agencies, private companies, and research institutions are increasingly using space-based data to help support a wide range of applications, such as satellite broadband. Communication service providers are also looking to benefit from data generated by satellites.4 And with 6.5 billion satellite-enabled global smartphones now in use,5 the demand for services doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon.
New opportunities for the ecosystem
Drawing on the entirety of the space ecosystem can help the sector fully capitalize on the opportunities space now presents. This ecosystem of course includes space companies—both legacy and new entrants—that build products such as launch vehicles and satellites as well as provide services to consumers from space. But it also includes such key players as government agencies that build, launch, and manage space-based capabilities for national security and scientific research. Then there are the non-space companies that are considering an entry into the market. And academia contributes to innovation within the sector through research and talent.
These players are potential collaborators that can come together to help build a network of investors, developers, integrators, suppliers, government agencies, academia, and research labs. By leveraging the breadth and depth of knowledge across these domains, companies could pursue a variety of opportunities, especially by innovating and building new business models within the following key areas:
Unlocking space’s potential
The costs to operate in space will likely keep falling as advances in technology continue to arrive. This means the time to explore the opportunities space presents is now. Collaboration will likely be critical, however, as scaling these opportunities could most likely require concerted efforts across the space ecosystem to help encourage investment and incentivize demand.
This kind of effort could make space closer than ever for those companies looking to expand their space-based businesses as well as offer new entrants a foothold. And with innovation and an eye to collaboration, the sky may no longer be the limit.
To learn more about the business of space see the Deloitte US article, Riding the exponential growth in space.
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