The possibility of space collisions by satellite mega-constellations gets a lot of press. Still, many vital services would be impossible without satellites.
At the Satellite Show of 2021, industry experts discussed deploying and maintaining low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites.
Pacôme Révillon, CEO of Euroconsult, outlined his four main points for the show:
- The start of services and future expansion of non-geostationary orbit (NGSO).
- Rising space financing and the need to meet investors’ expectations.
- The impact of cloud and tech leaders such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, including new partnerships.
- Opportunities provided by government and sovereignty programs for new commercial capabilities.
Each point deserves a deeper look.
Euroconsult projects NGSO constellations will drive the satellite and video connectivity market to $20 billion by 2030. Nathan De Ruiter, managing director of Euroconsult Canada, stated that the organization’s report found NGSO accounted for 97% of new satellite service orders in 2020. Satellites launched by Starlink and OneWeb are meeting this demand.
Euroconsult expects enterprise networks and consumer broadband to increase the demand for satellites over the next 10 years. The decline in video distribution backs up his projection. Its report also predicts growth in sea and aero connectivity.
In 2021, capital put into space projects grew by 60%. Fascination with figures like Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk sparked acceptance of space as an investment class. Investor interests include:
- Environmental issues.
- Social issues.
- Governmental issues.
Investors hope to see mega-constellations address problems such as greenhouse gas detection, supply chain monitoring, plane and ship routing, and crop tracking.
Strategies of cloud and tech leaders
Amazon, Google and Microsoft are swiftly building relationships with satellite companies. These giants are chasing twin goals: gaining these companies as customers and speeding up communication between data centers.
Each titan has its own plan. Amazon wants to corner the cloud market and has built ground stations to achieve this goal. It promises one-stop satellite services shopping and seamless cloud usage. Despite its resources, Amazon has one weakness. It has no satellite partner to provide short-term bandwidth. The company is working on a fix with Project Kuiper.
Google has a smaller footprint in the space arena. However, it has a relationship with SpaceX dating back to 2015. SpaceX will be connecting its Starlink satellite broadband network to Google’s cloud.
Trying a different tack, Microsoft isn’t depending on a single provider. It has chosen to team with multiple partners such as KSAT, ViaSat and US Electrodynamics.
Time will tell which competitor comes out ahead in the mega-constellations race.
Finding governmental support
Countries across the globe offer growth opportunities. For example:
- The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is working with military contractors, satellite operators and technology companies to show the feasibility of LEO constellations.
- Canada has a $600 million (CAD) deal with Telesat for an LEO constellation.
- The European Union assembled a consortium to study establishing an LEO constellation. X2NSat provides the links.
More and more, businesses have critical applications that must run in spite of telephone or internet failures. Through satellites, X2NSat provides the services to avoid disaster. Contact us to explore essential solutions for backups and expanded communications.