A satellite is an artificial, computer-controlled, semi-independent system that is launched into the earth’s orbit. Common satellite types include civilian, military, and observation, serving various purposes such as research, weather monitoring, navigation, and communication. Satellites are also deployed in different orbits for specific applications. The data obtained from satellites is utilized in various applications such as urban development, maritime security, mineral prospecting, and agriculture. Satellites are launched into earth’s orbits via launch vehicles. The launch system consists of the launch pad, the launch vehicle, and other infrastructure. Expendable satellite launch vehicles can be used only once for launch of satellites. To minimize the costs of missions, manufacturers are increasingly developing reusable satellite launch vehicles that can be used effectively for multiple launches. Launch vehicles are classified on the basis of the amount of mass carried into the orbit and the number of stages. They use boosters to supply early thrust and reduce the mass of further stages, thus allowing for larger payloads to be carried into the orbit.
The commercial use of satellites for applications such as internet and GPS has witnessed a significant increase in the past few years, which has subsequently boosted the commercial satellite launch services market. The demand for satellite-based telemetry applications is further contributing to the growth of this market. The demand for communication network and the rising need for data bandwidth as well as the increasing popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has further aided the growth of commercial satellite launches. A large number of vendors are investing and leveraging on new technologies such as electric propulsion systems and reusable satellite launch vehicles to cater to the need of efficient launch services. Growth in emerging markets has led to the significant increase in the number of satellite television and radio subscribers. Satellite broadband is also witnessing an increase in subscriber base, especially in developed countries due to reliable services and high data rates. The introduction of smaller satellites has significantly reduced launch costs, which has further driven the commercial satellite launch services market.
The commercial satellite launch services market can be categorized on the basis of orbit, application, size, and geography. By orbit, the market can be further segmented into GEO satellite, LEO satellite, and sun-synchronous satellite. By application, the market can be further categorized into navigational satellite, communication satellite, reconnaissance satellite, weather satellite, and remote sensing satellite. Furthermore, on the basis of size, the market can be sub-segmented into large, medium, mini, micro, pico, nano, and femto satellites. Geographically, the market is segmented into North America, South America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Middle East and Africa. The presence of large space agencies, commercial investment, and government initiatives promoting space research activities has favored the satellite launch services market in North America region. However, increasing development in developing countries such as India is expected to create huge opportunities for satellite launch services in coming years.
The major players in the commercial satellite launch services market include Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Lockheed Martin Corporation, Boeing, Orbital ATK, Inc., Airbus S.A.S., Arianespace SA, and Axelspace Corporation.
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