NSR Press Releases

NSR Report: Constellations Drive a $3.8 Billion Opportunity for Optical Satcom Equipment

Ground Segment Playing Catchup as Constellation Deployments Gather Steam

Cambridge, MA – 5 February 2020 – NSR’s Optical Satellite Communications, 2nd Edition report, released today, projects a $3.8 billion cumulative revenue opportunity until 2029 for space-based laser communications. The market is largely equipment-centric, with a significant portion of the revenue flow going to lasercom terminal manufacturers. Progress in this market is heavily dependent on the progress made by non-GEO constellation operators and their ability to launch and close their business cases.

Free space optical communications (FSOC) continue to remain a niche alternative to today’s radio frequency based satcom ecosystem, used primarily by governments and research organizations for demonstration missions. However, business requirements and technological maturity in recent years has spurred a new wave of interest in optical satellite communications as a potential gamechanger.

“The market for laser communication terminals (LCTs) rests strongly on the deployment of Non-GEO HTS mega-constellations, particularly if terminal prices come down,” states Shivaprakash Muruganandham, report co-author. He added, “Demand of nearly 11,000 units is expected from these constellation operators by 2029, with most of them planning to incorporate anywhere between two to five laser terminals per satellite.”

A handful of terminal manufacturers are eyeing this market, from aerospace incumbents with volume production capabilities to newer, leaner startups dependent on COTS components targeting niche adjacent segments such as commercial data relay or EO downlink services.

Earth Observation (EO) is a smaller market, with most satellite operators locked into existing RF infrastructure on the ground. “NSR recognizes the need for optical downlink capabilities for EO in the long-term, especially as sensor capabilities improve rapidly, but the optical ground segment is not yet mature for commercial viability,” adds Stella Strataki, report co-author. “Moreover, the increasing efficiency of cloud-based services for EO is expected to further constrain the market for optical downlinks”.

Many equipment manufacturers are racing to address this market with a variety of products aimed at inter-satellite links or direct-to-earth optical connectivity solutions. NSR’s report assesses the progress of key manufacturers as well as trends in the connectivity, Earth Observation, and ground segment markets. Further, NSR’s analysis highlights the growing maturity and partnerships seen in the industry value chain.

Companies and Organizations Mentioned in OSC2

Airbus, Amazon, Analytical Space, Archangel Lightworks, Astrogate Labs, ATLAS Space Operations, Ball Aerospace, Boeing, BridgeComm, Cloud Constellation, Empower Space, ESA, Es’hailSat, EXA, GHGSat, Honeywell, ICEYE, KSAT, Laser Light Communications, Loon, LyteLoop, Maxar Technologies,  mBryonics, Mynaric, NASA, Odysseus Space, RBC Signals, Sinclair Interplanetary, SKY Perfect JSAT, SpaceX, SSC, Telesat, Tesat-Spacecom, Thales Alenia Space, Transcelestial Technologies, and Xenesis.

About the Report

NSR’s Optical Satellite Communications, 2nd Edition is the industry’s only report providing a complete overview of the LCT market.  The report forecasts the global industry outlook in terms of in-service units, equipment and services revenues across regions and across three target application areas for both Space-Space and Space-Ground optical links. With profiles of key industry players manufacturing LCTs and building upon NSR’s leading research into the space infrastructure markets, this report offers a clear outlook on the future of optical communications in space for different stakeholders.

For additional information on this report, including a full table of contents, list of exhibits and executive summary, please visit www.nsr.com or call NSR at +1-617-674-7743.

About NSR

NSR is the leading global market research and consulting firm focused on the satellite and space sectors, NSR’s global team, unparalleled coverage and anticipation of trends with a high degree of confidence and precision than the competition is the cornerstone of all NSR offerings. First to market coverage and a transparent, dependable approach sets NSR apart as the key provider of critical insight to the satellite and space industries.

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