Trump Administration Moves Space Force Plans Forward

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Space Force logo designs were released by the Trump campaign to supporters for a vote. Source: Trump campaign

With a speech by Vice President Mike Pence, along with an interim report issued by the Pentagon, the U.S. government has begun laying out its plan to create a Space Force as a branch of the U.S. military. The plans will shake up an organization that has managed the launch of 116 satellites over the past eight years. Continue reading

Remote Sensing Satellite Market Takes Off, Driven by SmallSat Deliveries

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

JPSS-1 meteorological satellite. Source: NOAA

Annual deliveries of remote sensing satellites are increasing at high rates. Only 18 remote sensing satellites launched in 2013, but 177 were launched in 2017.

This trend can be expected to continue. During the 2018-2032 forecast period, civil and commercial satellite operators will take delivery of 3,979 satellites, representing an estimated $39 billion in value of production. Continue reading

Military Satellite Average Launch Mass Continues to Decline

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

ORS-1 Reconnaissance Satellite, United States Air Force Illustration.

Between 2012 and 2016, global militaries took delivery of 203 satellites. Deliveries reached a peak in 2013 with the launch of 55 satellites. Launches declined to a low point in 2016, when only 26 satellites were delivered into orbit. Going forward, Forecast International expects yearly satellite deliveries to continue between those two endpoints. Continue reading

Commercial Communications Satellite Launch Mass – It’s Complicated

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Two years ago, Forecast International published a blog post about a trend toward decreasing launch mass in commercial communications satellites. Since that post has remained popular, we think our readers will be interested in an updated look at trends in launch mass and the commercial satellite industry. Continue reading

Accelerating the SmallSat Propulsion Market: Interview with Accion Systems CEO Natalya Bailey

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

The ion Electrospray Propulsion System (iEPS) for CubeSats is shown here next to a US quarter for scale

Accion Systems is developing an electric propulsion system for small satellites. As the number of small satellites built and launched increases each year, Accion sees a growing opportunity for propulsion systems to guide those spacecraft once they reach orbit around Earth.

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New ULA Website Marks New Era in Launch Industry Transparency and Competition

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

ula

United Launch Alliance (ULA) has announced a new website that enables customers to shop for launch services and sets standard price transparency. It also provides insight into reliability, schedule assurance, and performance of the Atlas V launch vehicle. Continue reading

SpaceX Files to Build Massive Satellite Network

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Falcon 9 Launch

Falcon 9 Launch

SpaceX has officially filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to build and operate a massive network of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. According to documents submitted to the FCC, the satellite constellation will consist of 4,425 operational satellites along with in-orbit spares. The satellites will operate in 83 orbital planes, at altitudes ranging from 1,110 to 1,325 kilometers. They will operate in Ku- and Ka-bands. Continue reading

Clyde Space Remains at Forefront of Small Satellite Industry

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Outernet 1U CubeSat designed by Clyde Space

Outernet 1U CubeSat designed by Clyde Space

While at the 2016 Farnborough Air Show, I had the opportunity to speak with Robin Sampson, a sales manager at Clyde Space, a Scottish satellite equipment manufacturer. The conversation revealed interesting information about Clyde Space as well as some of the major trends within the growing small satellite market. Continue reading

Arianespace Boasts Another Record Year, and Looks Set for 11 Launches in 2016

by Richard Pettibone, Aerospace & Defense Companies Analyst, Forecast International.

Ariane 6

Ariane 6

2015 was another record year for Arianespace, with the launch consortium posting revenues of EUR1.44 billion.  During the year, the company signed orders for 33 launches worth EUR2.5 billion, which increased its order backlog to EUR5.3 billion.

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Satellogic Tops List of Largest Planned Commercial Remote-Sensing SmallSat Fleets

By Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Two Planet Labs Satellites Being Deployed from the ISS - Source: NASA

Two Planet Labs Satellites Being Deployed from the ISS – Source: NASA

Small satellites are the next exciting technology in the space industry. Once the domain of universities, spacecraft under 100 kilograms have caught on in the commercial sector. At least eight private companies have announced plans to build huge networks of SmallSats to provide remote-sensing imagery data to customers.

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