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The global space rover market size was valued at USD 106.2 million in 2022. The market is projected to grow from USD 99.4 million in 2023 to USD 107.1 million by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 1.07% during the forecast period.
Space rovers are special vehicles designed to travel over the rugged and mountainous terrain of alien bodies such as planets, moons, and asteroids. A rover is equipped with cameras, sensors, robotic arms, and other equipment to map its environment and collect rock, soil, and water samples. They help probe the atmospheres of space entities before planning a manned reconnaissance mission. Several rovers have been sent to Mars, moon, and even to asteroids in the recent decade to find traces of water and/or past life.
In recent years, the space mining market has gained momentum and various space agencies are planning to launch rovers and orbiters to different celestial bodies to detect the presence of various materials such as gold, platinum, silver, titanium, iron, aluminum, cobalt and nickel. The lander is a spacecraft that descends and comes to rest on the surface of an astronomical body. Landers are designed and manufactured for soft landings. The space rover is a planetary surface exploration device designed to move on the solid surface of a planet or other celestial body of planetary mass. Robotic rovers not only offer mobility but also the ability to perform complex tasks and make smart & selective observations.
Delays and Cancellation of Space Missions Amid COVID-19 Reduced Product Demand
Due to government restrictions aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19, business operations around the world were hampered or suspended. Innovation and research activities are often the first to be threatened in the event of an economic crisis. Being particularly dependent on innovation and research, many start-ups and SMEs are more vulnerable than large industries, especially in technological areas.
The COVID-19 crisis has also impacted the space industry, although demand for downstream space applications increased during the pandemic, helping many projects stay afloat and opening up new options for space exploration. Governments jumped to the rescue, providing much-needed support to the space rover sector. The pandemic highlighted the importance of government support for the expansion of commercial space companies, especially small businesses that rely heavily on their governments as investors in new ventures and regulators of their operations. Therefore, prudent government intervention is essential to overcome crises and recover lost revenues caused by the pandemic.
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Growing Focus on Futuristic Technologies will Propel Market Growth
Each Mars mission contributes to an ongoing innovation chain. Each mission makes a unique contribution to upcoming missions while drawing on technologies from previous missions or other tested concepts. This strategy enables space agencies to advance the frontiers of what is currently feasible while still relying on earlier advancements. NASA’s Curiosity rover, which touched down on Mars in 2012, is directly responsible for much of Perseverance's rover design, including its entry, descent, and landing system. With Perseverance, new technological innovations will be demonstrated and entry, descent, and landing capabilities will be improved. These advancements will help open the door for future robotic and human missions to the Moon and Mars.
For example, two technology demonstrations were transported to Mars by the Perseverance rover, one of them being MOXIE- the technology to turn carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere into oxygen will be tested by the MOXIE instrument, which is housed inside the rover's body. Future human missions to Mars will require the use of the planet's indigenous resources. The second one is Ingenuity Mars Helicopter - a small fuselage box with four thin, extended legs supports the Mars Helicopter's two pairs of counter rotating blades. The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is a tiny, autonomous rotorcraft that is stored underneath the rover and was created to test powered flight for the first time in the tenuous Martian atmosphere.
Rising Investment for Space Exploration to Drive Market Growth
The increasing dynamism of the aerospace industry is leading to changes in customer behavior. Major civilian and military customers are looking to move faster and are offloading more risk to industrial partners than ever before. They are increasingly favoring business models in which partners invest upfront to own and develop Intellectual Property (IP). For example, the U.S. Department of Defense's Space Development Agency is attempting to leverage existing commercial intellectual property to service a large constellation of Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) communications satellites and missile tracking satellites.
Meanwhile, several new entrants in the domain have taken advantage of growing investor interest to pursue partnerships, spin-offs, and private investment rounds. These entrants have used the surge in private and public capital to fund their products. With the rapid growth of finance, which has accelerated innovation and increased competition, winning business strategies are also changing rapidly. Players looking to build or maintain market leadership in aerospace need to identify creative ways to access and deploy capital while delivering higher value to core customers by leading the way in capabilities and models of business. Thus, following factors drive the space rover market growth
Surge in Funding in Space Programs is Expected to Spur Market Expansion
Venture Capital (VC) investment in the space rover sector has grown significantly over the past decade as investors have come to appreciate the long-term commercial potential of the sector. Among the many venture capital investors active in the aerospace sector are Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, and Lux Capital. Much of the capital has flowed into early-stage companies, allowing start-ups with less mature products or a longer path to profitability to fund research and development of capital-intensive products as they work to capture early revenue of customers.
For example, in April 2021, Astranis Space Technologies raised USD 250 million of C-round series satellites at a USD 1.4 billion valuation for smaller, lower-cost geostationary communications.
Higher Cost and High Probability of Failure of Space Exploration Projects Will Restrain Market Growth
Space exploration presents a number of challenges, some of which currently include high overall costs, risks of failure, a congested radio frequency spectrum, and an increasing amount of space-based rover or space debris, among others.
Therefore, safe and workable solutions that are acceptable to different stakeholders need to be developed and implemented. Even though the costs of materials and components to manufacture rockets, spacecraft and space missions come down to some extent, failure of a space mission significantly affects the budget of a space agency. The governments of countries such as India, Brazil, and some Gulf countries have started to engage in rover-based space exploration initiatives and programs. Hence, failures of space exploration projects are likely to hinder market expansion in the coming years.
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Martian Surface Exploration Segment to Dominate the Market Owing to Increased Mars Exploration Missions
By application, the market is categorized into lunar surface, Mars surface, and asteroids surface. The Mars surface segment generated the highest revenue in 2019, driven by increased investment in Mars exploration missions by several space agencies, including NASA and CNSA. Additionally, continuous developments to improve the efficiency of rover missions have enabled scientists to equip the rover with modern technologies such as rugged design, fully autonomous maneuverability, and superior landing. These technologies increase the success rate of space missions.
Additionally, the lunar surface segment is expected to show a significant CAGR during the forecast period owing to various lunar exploration missions such as NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, Chandrayan-3, and the Emirates lunar mission in the years to come.
The asteroids surface segment is not so demanding, as very few missions are going on currently. For example, NASA's first asteroid sample return spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx, fired its thrusters for 30 seconds in September 2021, propelling its orbit toward Earth. The resulting course correction keeps the vehicle on track to deliver a sample from asteroid Bennu to Earth on September 24, 2023, completing a seven-year mission.
Due to Increased Demand for Components, Hardware Segment to Capture Largest Market Share
Based on solution, the market is categorized into hardware and software. Among these, the hardware segment holds the largest market share due to increased demand for components for rover making, whereas, the software segment is projected to be the fastest-growing segment during the forecast period. Hardware segment consists of Rover’s body (brain, wheels, communication system, arms).
Software segment deals with the data transmission from space to earth, decisions made by a rover based on data from its sensors are automated using autonomy software. The Sojourner rover could produce 20 navigation 3D points for each pair of stereo images (with the initial software the craft landed with). The MER rovers can produce between 15,000 (nominal) and 40,000 (3D points) in survey mode. Hence, the demand for software will be higher in the forecast period.
In terms of geography, the market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and the rest of the world.
North America dominates the market due to significant investments from NASA. NASA's budget for fiscal year 2021 was gauged at USD 23.3 billion, which is 3% higher as compared to the previous year. NASA's Perseverance rover is the last to land safely on Mars. The mission was worth USD 2.7 billion. The design and construction of the rover and its associated components (including the landing system and flight platform) contributed to 81% of the total project cost, with the remainder going toward launch and operations. The rover's reliance on plutonium-238 as an energy source elevated launch costs due to stringent environmental and safety regulations for launching nuclear materials.
The country's players are also focusing on various lunar missions. For example, Intuitive Machines is preparing for its first lunar mission in the first quarter of 2022, as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. Nova-C is one of three lunar landers to be built and launched under the program.
Europe held the second-largest space rover market share in 2021. The growth is attributed to the growing adoption of advanced rover building technology for the cabin of modern generation rockets. In addition, key players such as Airbus Defence and Space, the U.K. Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency, and the European Space Agency are present in the market. These organizations are among the major businesses to have a number of highly regarded clients around the world. In November 2022, European nations agreed to increase space spending by 17% to keep pace with the U.S. and China in two days of intense negotiations overshadowed by soaring energy prices. The European Space Agency (ESA) said its 22 member states had agreed to provide 17.5 billion for projects from the search for past life on Mars to climate research in 2023-25, compared to 13.1 billion in the previous period. Thus, higher growth numbers are anticipated during the forecast period.
The Asia Pacific space rover market is expected to register the fastest CAGR revenues compared to other regional markets over the forecast period. This can be attributed to technological advances and a growing number of space-related initiatives by major countries in the region. China, India and Japan have conducted their own world-class space programs and have been successful in a number of space rover ventures. China has conducted a series of missions involving both rover landings and lunar and Martian exploration, India has become the first country in Asia to reach Mars, and Japan has been pursuing its own space rover program for some time. South Korea has also tested and fired missiles in the recent past. The rapid pace of planning to become a space leader is driving major advances in propulsion systems, technology and materials, R&D, and increased government investments for space exploration and related technologies, which are expected to support the market revenue growth in Asia Pacific during the forecast period.
The market in the rest of the world will witness substantial growth in the near future owing to increasing investment and spending in modernization of space rovers for space exploration programs.
Increasing Number of Launches to Moon and Mars will Boost Market Augmentation
Some of the prominent space rover players include Lockheed Martin Corporation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, ISRO, Airbus SE, and Blue Origin, among others. The competitive landscape is a mix of private and government organizations collaborating on advanced technologies that could revolutionize space exploration. Investments in space mining are also on the rise, which will contribute to market proliferation in the coming years. Major space agencies are also collaborating to develop new space-based rovers and landers, which are expected to drive market growth. For example, Japan's JAXA is planning the Martian Moons Exploration Mission to explore two moons of Mars, which will include rovers developed by JAXA in collaboration with National Centre for Space Studies and National Aeronautics and Space Research Center of the Federal Republic of Germany.
An Infographic Representation of Space Rover Market
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The research report provides a detailed analysis of the market. It comprises all major aspects, such as R&D capabilities and optimization of the manufacturing process and supply chain. Moreover, the report offers insights into the space industries market trends and primarily highlights key industry developments. In addition to the above-mentioned factors, it mainly focuses on several factors that have contributed to the global market growth in recent years.
CAGR of 1.07% from 2023 to 2030
Value (USD Million)
By Application, Solution, and Geography
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 106.2 million in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 107.1 million by 2030.
The market will exhibit a CAGR of 1.07% during the forecast period.
The Mars surface segment is the leading application segment.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Lockheed Martin Corporation, the Boeing Company, Indian Space Research Organization, and Johnson Space Center and Airbus Defence, and Space are the major players in the global market.
North America dominated the market in terms of share in 2021.
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