Despite the coronavirus and the challenges that the pandemic has presented to the space industry, launches in 2020 will hit an all-time record.
WASHINGTON — Despite the coronavirus and the challenges that the pandemic has presented to the space industry, launches in 2020 will hit an all-time record with 1,079 satellites so far and counting, an industry analyst said Nov. 10.
As of November 1, 1,079 satellites have been launched, 1,029 of which were smallsats, Alexandre Najjar, senior consultant at Euroconsult said at the World Satellite Business Week Virtual Edition conference.
SpaceX internet Starlink satellites accounted for 773 of the 1,029 smallsats launched so far in 2020, he said. “Starlink is the elephant in the room,” Najjar said. Euroconsult projects that half the smallsat market will be from broadband megaconstellations .
Najjar said the 1,079 number does not include the recent Indian Space Research Organization’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rideshare launch of 10 satellites.
India stopped launching for several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and just started up again. “It was a record year despite COVID,” said Najjar. “For the first time we launched over 1,000 satellites.”
By comparison, 385 smallsats were launched in 2019.
According to Euroconsult, from 2020 to 2029, the smallsat market value is projected to reach $51 billion, of which $33 billion for manufacturing and $18 billion for launch. This is more than four times the market size of the previous decade.