In the newest quarterly issue of The Space Report, Space Foundation, a 501(c)(3) global space advocate for 37 years, announced that space investment in Q3 2020 gained strength with more than $6 billion gained through acquisitions, buyouts, and private equity financing.
Acquisitions and buyouts in Q3 totaled more than $3.3 billion in disclosed value across 17 announced transactions, significantly outpacing the 13 transactions and $265 million in disclosed value announced in Q2, according to analysis by Quilty Analytics published in The Space Report 2020 Q3. In private equity and venture capital investments, the Q3 total reached nearly $2.7 billion in 25 financings compared to Q2’s $410 million raised in 32 transactions, Quilty analysis found.
Additionally, The Space Report 2020 Q3 includes analysis of 2019 commercial space revenue, and annual data there also shows gains over the prior year, as well as strong 10-year performance figures. Commercial space revenue, which represents about 80% of the global space economy, climbed 6.3% from 2018, growing to $336.89 billion. Over 10 years, the increase was 77.8%.
Commercial space products and services remained the largest percentage of the sector, and in 2019 those totaled $217.72 billion. Though up only 1.7% from the prior year, the sector was up 113% from its 2010 total of $102 billion.
In commercial infrastructure and support industries, revenues were up 16.1% compared to 2018, finishing at $119.17 billion in 2019. The decade’s change was more modest compared to space products and services, rising only 36% since 2010.
Some 2019 industry highlights:
- Satellite manufacturing reversed a downward trend in 2019 and is expected to remain strong through 2020. Airbus and Thales Alenia Space captured 10 of 17 orders in 2019, and this past summer won significant contracts valued at more than $1 billion with ESA and the UK, fueling confidence in the continued strength of the market.
- Ground stations and equipment generated more than $112.45 billion, and a 10-year forecast from the European Global Satellite Services Agency predicted that the sector will grow significantly.
- Earth observation satellite revenue also climbed to more than $3 billion. Almost 32% of revenue came from the sale of raw data collected by commercial satellites.
Approaching the 20th anniversary of continuous human habitation of the International Space Station, and with expected private launches by more commercial launch providers, The Space Report also examined some of the numbers behind nearly 60 years of space travel. Since 1961, 580 people from 41 countries have launched into orbit, according to the Association of Space Explorers (ASE). That’s an average of 9.8 astronauts per year. In the nearly 60 years since astronauts have been launching into space, 62% have been U.S. astronauts. Russian cosmonauts, however, have spent the most cumulative time on the ISS with a combined 36.6 years.
In as few as three years, private commercial spaceflight promises to achieve what international space programs have in the last 59 years. The ASE estimates that once commercial spaceflight programs are in service, about 200 space travelers per year will experience suborbital flight.
Commenting on the release of The Space Report 2020 Q3, Space Foundation CEO Tom Zelibor shared, “Numbers such as these reflect the strength and enduring growth of the global space economy. Investors, entrepreneurs, and consumers can find confidence and opportunity in multiple sectors of the space economy, and that type of promise bodes well for everyone’s future.”