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The global space propulsion market size was USD 6.23 billion in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 7.31 billion in 2021 to USD 19.74 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 15.24% during the 2021-2028 period. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with space propulsion witnessing a negative impact on demand across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a lower growth of 5.1% in 2020 as compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The rise in CAGR is attributable to this market's growth and demand, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
The advent of the 21st century has changed the market dynamics of the global space industry and the global space propulsion market growth due to commercialization of the global space industry and new market players entering the space industry. Along with its space exploration market, the utility of satellites also changed, ranging from interplanetary probes and spacecraft to low earth orbit (LEO) and their constellations by governmental & defense agencies and various commercial market players. The utilities include satellite imaging technology, in-flight internet services, satellite-based communications for commercial and military applications, satellite-based critical data acquisition for multiple industries, and space-based exploration.
The shift from conventional propulsion systems and the introduction of the next-generation propulsion systems, such as electric propulsion (specifically ion propulsion), have matured the product utility with the space industry. The development of alternative propulsion has brought significant market growth to the global propulsion market. It is anticipated to drive the market growth during the forecast period, owing to the anticipated increment in the number of space launches and the advent of space tourism by the new market entrants. The increase in realization of benefits from the LEO satellites is also anticipated to propel the market growth during the forecast period.
High Demand for Space Propulsion Worldwide to Impede Market Growth
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the space industry and showcased moderate to lower growth in 2020 and is anticipated to grow during the forecast period.
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Commercialization of Space Industry and High Demand for Military Applications to Boost Space Propulsion Market Development
After the 2008 commercialization of the space industry, there has been a noticeable transformation from a governmental function to an industry with commercial and conventional space significant players. According to the evaluation of production models in large-scale satellite manufacturing, the entrance of existing and potential market players has emphasized the manufacturing of small and inexpensive satellites with equal capabilities comparable to the traditional satellites. The impact of such trends has brought global companies, such as Google, OneWeb, and SpaceX, showing interest in launching the satellite constellation for earth observation and global internet access initiatives.
According to the U.S. Space Development Agency (SDA) Director Derek Tournear, the SDA observes the cyber-attacks as a potential large-scale threat to the satellite or satellite constellations than the threats from anti-satellite missile systems. Militaries worldwide emphasize developing low-cost satellite constellations for ISR and communication applications, which will be cost-effective deterrence against cyber-attacks and anti-satellite systems.
High Demand for LEO (Low Earth Orbit) Satellites and Satellite Constellations to Drive Growth
The new entrants in the space industry emphasize the construction of LEO satellite due to its cost-effectivity, availability of off-the-shelf satellite components, and lower launch cost due to low satellite launch mass. The utility of LEO satellites or the satellite constellation for earth observation applications, military surveillance and communications, and satellite-based internet services yields significant benefits due to its proximity to the earth's surface. Its utility uniform satellite-based coverage is also beneficial to deliver critical data and monitoring environment and resources. Also, these satellites are utilized for the satellite deorbiting process. These developments are anticipated to drive the market.
Rising Satellite Imaging Applications to Propel Market Growth due to High Demand for Satellite Launches and Propulsion Systems
The high demand for satellites for satellite imaging applications, launch systems, and need for propulsion systems is anticipated to drive market growth during the forecast period. The rise in national security threats and homeland security concerns has propelled governments worldwide to utilize satellite imaging systems. The industries, defense agencies, and governments are investing in satellite-based imaging for various applications such as mapping natural resources, weather forecasting, and critical data for military and homeland security applications. Satellite imaging can also be utilized to track geospatial data, dynamic human footprints such as urbanization effects, multispectral satellite image data for oil and gas, mining, and geographic information systems. Satellite imaging also caters to applications such as engineering and construction, disaster response, conservation and research, and media and entertainment.
Heightened Emission Due to Rising Number of Space Launches to Restrain Growth
Over the decades, there has been several space launches by multiple countries worldwide. Space launches are one of the reasons to produce hefty carbon emissions, owing to the combustion of solid rocket fuels. Space launches produce clouds of exhausts, which can dangerously alter the atmosphere. The contamination and chemicals that alumina released during the space launches deplete the ozone layer, owing to the emission of hazardous gases. According to United Nations Development Program report, Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) is utilized in the space systems as a rocket propellant responsible for transforming into an ecological disaster zone of Kazakh Steppe.
The UDMH, which is highly carcinogenic for humans and spills from Russia's Proton launch vehicle's first and second stage rockets, has damaged the environment. Proton has been the mainstay for launching various commercial and governmental satellites since 1965. Scientists and environmentalists have witnessed the UDMH deposit into the soil and its byproducts for decades. The report also mentions that solid rocket motors are responsible for launching heavy-lift launch vehicles and combusting a mixture of ammonia and aluminum. For instance, NASA's solid rocket boosters also burn the same mix, generating massive clouds of reactive chemicals such as aluminum oxide and hydrochloric acid during space launches. These clouds affect soil and water quality and disrupt and stunt vegetation growth.
Satellite Segment to Lead Market Owing to Rising Demand for Satellites
Based on platform, the global market is divided into satellite, launch vehicles, rovers/landers, capsules/cargo, and interplanetary spacecraft and probes.
The satellite segment is anticipated to hold the largest market share during the forecast period due to the high demand for space propulsion capable of launching satellites for earth observation, interplanetary flight, and space-borne planetary observation. It is expected to strengthen the market due to rise in satellite launches, as reported by World Meteorological Organization. There is increment in the utility of satellites across end-user segments such as commercial, government, and defense for critical data and various satellite-based services.
The launch vehicles segment is anticipated to grow remarkably due to the high demand for space propulsions for numerous space launches of planned satellite programs by the commercial market players and governmental space agencies. The segment is expected to grow in future, owing to the high demand for space-based satellites, the advent of space tourism, and the long life of space propulsion.
Rovers/landers, capsules/cargo, and interplanetary spacecraft and probes segments are anticipated to grow at slower rate but witness significant growth due to highly complex systems high space budget, and limited manufacturers. They are operated by China, the U.S., Russia, and others. Planned space missions by these countries for exploration of Moon and Mars are anticipated to drive the market growth of these segments. Also, these countries operate international space stations, which is also expected to drive the development of the capsules/cargo segment, owing to the periodical exchange of the personnel and resupplying the much-needed cargo.
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Electric Propulsion Segment to Lead Market Owing to High Demand for Cost-effective Propulsion System
Based on propulsion type, the space propulsion market is segmented into chemical propulsion, electric propulsion, solar propulsion, nuclear propulsion, and others.
The electric propulsion segment is predicted to grow at the fastest rate during the forecast period due to high demand for cost-effective systems and lower space budgets impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With the advent of stringent governmental and international environmental policies on carbon & hazardous gaseous emissions and rise in the utility of electric propulsion in the satellites, the market share of the electric propulsion segment is anticipated to propel the market growth during the forecast period.
The chemical propulsion segment was the largest segment in 2020, owing to the high demand for chemical propulsion for space launches or interplanetary space flights. Chemical propulsion has been the mainstay for launching numerous space flights since the space industry and its exploration. Numerous countries rely on chemical propulsion in various forms such as solid, liquid, and gaseous as per the utility of space-borne vehicles such as booster rockets, interplanetary probes, and launch vehicles.
Solar propulsion, nuclear propulsion, and other propulsion segments are anticipated to grow significantly during the forecast period due to increasing utility for earth observation and interplanetary space flights.
Electric Propulsion Thrusters Segment to Propel Market Owing to High Demand of Electric Propulsion Thrusters for Various Space Applications
Based on component, the global space propulsion market is classified into thrusters, electric propulsion thrusters, nozzles, rocket motors, and others.
The electric propulsion thrusters segment is the largest and fastest-growing segment during the forecast period, owing to the rise in utility of electric propulsions for various applications and the rise in number of space launches worldwide. However, electric propulsion thrusters involve housing advanced systems and subsystems considering their life. However, rising y-o-y space expenditure has driven the market growth in the electric propulsion thrusters segment.
The rocket motors segment has shown a significant market growth rate due to high demand for its applications during the forecast period. Thrusters, nozzles, and other segments are anticipated to grow at a slower but significant growth rate, owing to demand for space sensors, quantum sensors, and real-time systems in the propulsion system.
Government and Defense Segment to Lead Market due to High Adoption Rate of Satellite Technologies in Government and Defense Sectors
The market is bifurcated into commercial government & defense and commercial by end-user.
The government & defense segment is anticipated to be the largest market share due to the rise in number of space exploration missions, growth in the utility of the satellites and satellite-based services by government and defense agencies, and increase in space budgets in China, India, the U.S., and the UAE despite the ongoing pandemic. There has been rise in the utility of satellites by defense organizations and forces such as communication satellites, remote sensing satellites, and surveillance satellites for military and cyber operations. Also, the new emphasis of defense organizations worldwide on the utility of military satellite constellation of small satellites as deterrence against anti-satellite missile systems and cyber-attacks is anticipated to influence the segment during the forecast period. These developments are anticipated to propel the market growth.
The commercial segment is the fastest-growing segment in the global market during the forecast period due to the entrance of space start-ups and rise in demand for satellite and satellite-based services across commercial industries such as mining, energy, and infrastructure, media & entertainment, telecommunication, agriculture, oil, and gas. Also, the utility of satellite-based services in the commercial aviation industry has shown significant growth and is predicted to grow during 2021-2028. This development in the commercial segment is anticipated to propel the global market growth during the forecast period.
North America Space Propulsion Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)
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Based on region, the market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Rest of the World.
North America held the largest market share with USD 2.35 billion in 2020 and during the forecast period. The growth is attributed to high space budget, high number of commercial space agencies and market players, and the vast space industry-related supply chain network in the U.S. There has been procurement of advanced propulsion systems for future space launches by the market players such as Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) along with the governmental and defense agencies such as NASA and the U.S. Space Force. Furthermore, key players such as Northrop Grumman Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Honeywell International Inc., the Boeing Company, and others drive the growth of the market across the region.
Asia Pacific will witness remarkable growth in the market during the forecast period. Increasing space budgets of China, India, and Japan, rising satellite launches for commercial and governmental and defense utilities, and high demand for satellites across Asia Pacific drive the development of the market. Increasing space expenditure and growing military satellite programs from South Korea, Japan, China, and India drive the market growth. The market players are highly interested since the highly fragmented space propulsion system. Key market players are opting for expanding the market share across the globe for various tenders across Asia Pacific.
The market in Europe is anticipated to grow at a moderate pace, owing to the presence of manufacturers such as Thales Alenia Space, Safran S.A., Blue Origin LLC., Ariane Group GmbH, Cobham Mission Systems Wimborne Ltd., and others. These players drive the growth of the market in Europe. The Middle East & Africa will witness steady growth due to the UAE, Israel, Turkey, and others increasing their space spending. Latin America registers significant growth due to rising demand for satellite systems and rising space expenditure.
Introduction of Advanced Technologies for the Development of Next-Generation Space Propulsions to Propel Market Growth
The development of space propulsions manufacturing and the introduction of advanced technologies are the upcoming market trends. A robust product portfolio, increment in R&D investment, and increased emphasize on mergers & acquisitions are the indispensable factors responsible for the dominance of these key market players such as Safran S.A., Northrop Grumman Corporation, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Thales Alenia Space, Ariane Group GmbH, Sierra Nevada Corporation, OHB SE, Moog Inc., and others.
An Infographic Representation of Space Propulsion Systems Market
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The global space propulsion market report offers qualitative and quantitative insights on this market. It provides a detailed analysis of the market size & growth rate for all possible segments in the market. The report provides an elaborative analysis of dynamics, COVID-19 effect, emerging trends, and competitive landscape in the market.
Key insights offered in the report are the adoption trends of the system by individual segments, recent industry developments such as mergers & acquisitions, partnerships, consolidated SWOT analysis of key players, Porter's five forces analysis, business strategies of leading market players, micro and macroeconomic indicators, and the leading industry trends.
Value (USD Billion)
By Propulsion Type
Fortune Business Insights says that the market value stood at USD 7.31 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 19.74 billion by 2028.
The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 15.24% during the forecast period (2021-2028).
In 2020, the market value stood at USD 6.23 billion.
The electrical propulsion segment is estimated to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.
The key factor driving the market is the rise in satellite imaging technologies' utility and the high demand for LEO satellites and satellite constellation in commercial and defense applications.
Thales Alenia Space, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Lockheed Martin Corporation are some of the leading OEMs.
North America is projected to be the largest shareholder in this market.
Commercialization of the space industry and rise in military applications are the latest trends.
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