This year’s World Satellite Business Week Summit highlighted the dynamics of the industry. A few notable trends.
- The financing market is tougher, especially for companies with less proven business plans. Many of the companies funded in the SPAC bubble may not make it.
- Europe and the European Space Agency (ESA) continue to chase SpaceX/Starlink in search of a viable European model for space.
- Multi-orbit networks (LEO, MEO, GEO) are in vogue. Operators, service providers, antenna manufacturers, and software designers are working on multi-orbit solutions.
- Software-defined hardware is increasingly taking center stage as is the need for common equipment standards to lower prices.
- The vertical integration vs. off-the-shelf debate continues among product manufacturers.
- The largely unspoken elephant in the room is that the industry is increasingly being dominated by SpaceX/Starlink with few compelling ideas on how others can maintain viability absent continued government funding.
- New term, “data sovereignty”, was increasingly used, it seems, to justify subsidies for government systems built with domestic suppliers.
Major news items included:
- Starlink is no longer subsidizing consumer equipment, suggesting production costs at or below the $599 retail price.
- Mark Dankberg suggested Viasat-3 Americas may not be a total loss, with more news coming next month.
- Amazon’s Project Kuiper will launch its first two satellite in October.
Note: The satellite industry has moved from its slow-moving aerospace/defense roots to become a vibrantly changing industry. As such, we saw many new faces, and we did not recognize everyone. Because speakers did not always sit in the order listed in the program, it is possible we occasionally misattributed a quote. Feel free to send any corrections.