There has been exponential growth of space objects, including orbital debris that has increased the in-orbit collision risk. In the year 2019 alone, 385 smallsats were launched & over 1,000 smallsat launches per year is forecasted going forwards. In addition to polluting space, space junk it poses risks for safely navigating spacecraft. In the year 2010 alone, space debris increased by over 75%, posing huge collision risks for spacecraft operating in low earth atmosphere.
NASA estimates there are 21,000 objects orbiting Earth that are larger than 10 cm, 500,000 between 1 and 10 cm, and more than 100 million that are less than 1 cm. Orbital debris of even 1cm size, travelling at an average speed of about 11 km/sec can cause partial or complete destruction of satellite. The large number of debris around Earth is a risk for the safety of operational satellites. Any of debris objects can cause harm to an operational spacecraft, where a collision with a 10-cm object could entail a catastrophic fragmentation, a 1-cm object will most likely disable a spacecraft and penetrate the satellite shields, and a 1-mm object could destroy sub-systems on board a spacecraft.
The space is also becoming increasingly militarized many countries are developing killer microsatellites and other antisatellite weapons (ASAT) that could be used to damage other satellites. There is also thrust on space robots which can perform repair of satellites and which could also put to deorbit adversary’s satellites. They could provide complete awareness of adversary’s activities in space so that one can take counter actions.
The US Strategic Command defines SSA as “The requisite current and predictive knowledge of space events, threats, activities, conditions and space system (space, ground, link) status capabilities, constraints and employment — to current and future, friendly and hostile– to enable commanders, decision-makers, planners and operators to gain and maintain space superiority across the spectrum of conflict.”
SSA encompasses surveillance of all space objects, activities, and terrestrial support systems (satellites & debris), more detailed reconnaissance of specific space objects assets (mission identification, capabilities, vulnerabilities, etc.), discerning the intent of others who operate in space, knowing the status of our own forces in real-time, and analysis of the space environment and its effects (solar storms, meteor showers, etc.).
The ability holds a pivotal role in understanding space conditions, events, activities, threats, natural or man-made debris, and intentional or unintentional attacks on space assets such as satellites. The near-Earth space extends to the Earth-radius of more than 100,000km to cover all man-made objects in the orbit. The information assists planners, operators, decision makers and commanders in gaining and maintaining space superiority through conflicts while thwarting attacks and potential collisions.
SSA holds a crucial importance for space safety owing to continuous monitoring of the presence of natural or man-made hazards like debris. SSA services document real-time information of space components while alerting satellite operators of potential accidents. In addition, SSA tracks space bodies that may interfere with a particular orbit while predicting their positions in advance for preventing collisions with satellites.
Staying on top of trends and accurate analysis is paramount now more than ever to manage uncertainty, change and continuously adapt to new and evolving market conditions.
Global Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Industry
The global market for Space Situational Awareness (SSA) was USD 1.21 billion in 2020. It is projected to grow from USD 1.27 billion in 2021 to USD 1.73 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 5.27% in the forecast period supported by the fact that space is the final frontier in enhancing a country’s national power & prestige.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the global economy, which, in turn, has also resulted in the delay in product launches and reduced production. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were majorly affected by this pandemic. The space industry is also showcasing declining demand. As per a survey conducted by the U.K. Space Agency & Department of International Trade and UK space, 20% of companies suffered from economic losses. These factors may hamper the demand for space situational awareness services.
Continuous monitoring for emerging signs of a possible new world order post-COVID-19 crisis is a must for aspiring businesses and their astute leaders seeking to find success in the now changing Space Situational Awareness (SSA) market landscape.
The U.S. and a number of other developed countries rely heavily on space assets for their national security and economic capabilities. However, these assets are highly vulnerable to attacks as they move in conventional orbits with little defenses, offering an appealing target for adversaries. Any attack on space assets holds potential to degrade, delay and even defeat the ability of a country to project its military force, especially in asymmetric conflicts. The potential fulfillment of these objectives may encourage an adversary to pursue a more aggressive stance. These factors create the pressing need for options that make attacks on space systems prohibitively expensive.
Drivers and Restraints
The increase in demand for small satellites across the globe acts as one of the major factors driving the growth of space situational awareness market, adoption of lower earth orbit (LEO)-based services, and rising attention on the commercial on-orbit satellite activity. The increasing launch of small satellites is expected to significantly bolster the SSA market. Primarily used for commercial and military applications including communications and surveillance, small satellites have garnered considerable attention over the last decade, providing a major push to the global SSA market. The surge in space congestion due to the increasing number of new satellite launches and small satellites for various military and commercial applications, such as surveillance and communications, accelerates the market growth.
The market is also witnessing robust gains for the space tracking & surveillance services given the risk associated with space debris, rising space traffic and increasing number of space exploration projects. The market is gaining from the entry of commercial SSA companies that offer SSA services and data to serve satellite operators.
The increase in space innovation on-orbiting and de-orbiting activities and surge in the involvement of private players in the global space industry further influence the market. Additionally, the rise in investments for space missions, digitization, and technological advancements positively affect the space situational awareness market. Furthermore, an increase in demand for Lower Earth Orbit (LEO)-based services extend profitable opportunities to the market players in the forecast period of 2021 to 2028.
On the flip side, stringent regulations and standards specified by space regulatory authorities are inhibiting the market expansion. However, rising concerns over the continuously increasing risk of collisions in the space, especially from micro and small-sized debris, are likely to present lucrative revenue-generating opportunities to market participants. In the coming years, the global SSA market is bound to experience strong adoption of SSA services and associated software including space debris end-to-end services and conjunction analysis.
Various nations are developing space-based surveillance and intelligence to improve national security. These efforts involve the use of satellites for data communication. Countries including the US, Japan and China are making notable investments in SSA to protect their satellites engaged in offering important information. While Japan invested US$17 million in SSA initiatives in 2018, various developing nations like Australia are looking forward to spend US$1 billion by 2035. These initiatives are anticipated to provide a significant boost to the SSA market in the coming years.
Traditionally, the SSA domain was ruled by the US that started sharing data with foreign and commercial users eventually for avoiding collisions. In the recent years, countries including Europe and Russia have started developing and expanding independent SSA platforms.
In 2020, North America held USD 0.43 billion in terms of revenue. As part of the new emerging geographic scenario, the United States is forecast to readjust to a 5.1% CAGR. The region is set to remain at the forefront throughout the forthcoming years owing to the presence of the largest space surveillance network in the U.S. In Asia Pacific, the rising demand for space situational awareness services, especially from Japan, India, and China would propel growth. In Europe, Russia possesses the second-largest network of space surveillance that would accelerate the demand for SSA services.
China, the world`s second largest economy, is forecast to reach a projected market size of US$141.9 Million by the year 2027 trailing a CAGR of 5.7% over the analysis period 2020 to 2027. Among the other noteworthy geographic markets are Japan and Canada, each forecast to grow at 3.3% and 3.5% respectively over the 2020-2027 period.
In Japan, the Services segment will reach a market size of US$78.1 Million by the close of the analysis period. Blamed for the pandemic, significant political and economic challenges confront China. Amid the growing push for decoupling and economic distancing, the changing relationship between China and the rest of the world will influence competition and opportunities in the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) market. Against this backdrop and the changing geopolitical, business and consumer sentiments, the world’s second largest economy will grow at 4.2% over the next couple of years and add approximately US$64.6 Million in terms of addressable market opportunity.
Within Europe, Germany is forecast to grow at approximately 3.8% CAGR. Within Europe, the region worst hit by the pandemic, Germany will add over US$22 Million to the region’s size over the next 7 to 8 years. In addition, over US$17 Million worth of projected demand in the region will come from Rest of European markets.
Emerging space nations in the world are attractive markets for Space Situational Awareness (SSA) with robust potential for medium & long-term growth. The continuous launch of in-orbit operations and new satellites over the past several years has made the space crowded, a trend that is unlikely to abate in the coming years. Space congestion is also attributed to continuing globalization of the aerospace industry and strong focus of nations on independent space programs. The market growth is also propelled by increasing attention on national security and the resulting focus on the space.
Based on Object, the market is bifurcated into Mission-related Debris, Rocket Bodies, Fragmentation Debris, Functional Spacecraft, and Non-Functional Spacecraft. The fragmentation debris segment holds the largest market share during the forecast period. The factors that can be attributed to the increasing congestion in space due to fragmentation debris, as well as an increase in space exploration activities, are driving the demand for this segment.
On the basis of offering, the space situational awareness market is segmented into services and software. Services segment, is forecast to grow at over 4.4% and reach a market size of US$1.1 Billion by the end of the analysis period. An unusual period in history, the coronavirus pandemic has unleashed a series of unprecedented events affecting every industry. The Services market will be reset to a new normal which going forwards in a post COVID-19 era will be continuously redefined and redesigned.
Services are further segmented into space weather services, near-earth object detection services and space surveillance and tracking services. Amongst these, the space weather services segment generated 30.05% in terms of the space situational awareness market share in 2020. This growth is attributable to the increasing number of new satellite launches across the globe. On the basis of object, the space situational awareness market is segmented into mission-related debris, rocket bodies, fragmentation debris, functional spacecraft, and non-functional spacecraft.
On the basis of end user, the space situational awareness market is segmented into government & military and commercial. Government & military is further segmented into space agencies, department of defence, search and rescue entities, intelligence community and academic and research institutions. Commercial is further segmented into satellite operators/owners, launch providers, space insurance companies, the energy industry, and air traffic & navigation service providers.
The commercial segment is estimated to witness the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The factors that can be attributed to the various private space entities focusing on SSA solutions for satellite operations throughout the satellite’s lifecycle enhance the demand for this segment.
The arena has also witnessed the influx of various commercial players that offer SSA services and solutions to governments and satellite operators. As the number of space assets in the form of satellites increase, the risk of man-made large orbital debris increases. Commercialization of SSA services has been an approach that some private for-profit companies are exploring. Most notably, LeoLABS is providing paid SSA services for LEO objects, using data from their radar facilities. No data or orbital elements are made public.
Competitors identified in this market include, among others, Analytical Graphics, Inc.; Elecnor Deimos Group; Etamax Space GmbH; ExoAnalytic Solutions, Inc.; GlobVision Inc.; GMV Innovating Solutions SL; Harris Corporation; Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc.; Lockheed Martin Corporation; NorStar Space Data Inc.; Polaris Alpha LLC.; Solers, Inc.; SpaceNav; Vision Engineering Solutions, LLC.
Competitors identified in this market include, among others, Analytical Graphics, Inc., Elecnor Deimos Group, Etamax Space GmbH, ExoAnalytic Solutions, Inc., GlobVision Inc., GMV Innovating Solutions SL, Harris Corporation, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc.,
Lockheed Martin Corporation, NorStar Space Data Inc., Polaris Alpha LLC., Solers, Inc.,SpaceNav, Vision Engineering Solutions, LLC.
The global space situational awareness (SSA) market is set to gain traction from the increasing usage of radio frequency (RF) data to analyze and monitor objects in space and acquire crucial information, such as ownership, operation, health, intention, and location. Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc., for instance, is a renowned provider of RF spectral services with more than 20 RF monitoring sites worldwide.
April 2021: The German Space Agency chose Lockheed Martin’s space traffic management software iSpace to collect data from hundreds of radio, infrared, radar, and optical sensors. At the same time, it will be utilized to task German sensors to detect objects of interest and space events, such as launches, breakups, maneuvers, and collisions.
March 2021: Bluestaq bagged a new contract worth USD 280 million from the U.S. Space Force (USSF) for broadening its space data catalogue. The company will continue working on the Phase III SBIR Advanced Command and Control Enterprise Systems and Software (ACCESS).
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