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Inside SIA’s 2024 State of the Satellite Industry Report

By Rachel Jewett | June 13, 2024

      Via Satellite archive photo

      The global satellite industry grew revenue by 2% in 2023, as most segments of the industry except satellite TV saw gains, according to the Satellite Industry Association’s (SIA) annual report. 

      SIA released the 27th annual State of the Satellite Industry report on June 13, produced by BryceTech. The report takes stock of activity in segments across the industry, from manufacturing, satellite services, launch, space sustainability, and ground equipment. 

      While launches and Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations garner the most media headlines, the report shows that launch continues to be a small fraction of overall industry revenue — and the declining satellite TV market still holds a major share of industry revenue. 

      The commercial satellite industry continues to make up the largest portion of the global space industry. Commercial satellite industry revenue in 2023 increased to $285 billion, accounting for 71% of the world’s space business (last year it was 73%).  ​​Non-satellite space industry revenue of $114 billion includes government space budgets and commercial human spaceflight. 

      Ground equipment continues to be the highest-earning industry segment at $150.4 billion, making up about 53% of industry revenue. A large portion of ground revenue is attributed to GNSS equipment including chipsets that enable location-based capabilities in mobile devices, aircraft avionics, and in-vehicle units. 

      Total satellite ground equipment revenues increased 4% in 2023, with increases in GNSS equipment, network equipment like VSATs, and consumer terminals. 

      Broadband Grows, But Satellite TV Still Dominates 

      While segments of the industry like manufacturing, launch, consumer broadband, mobile data, and others grew in 2023, the report shows how dominant satellite TV still is in terms of revenue. In 2023, $77.2 billion in satellite TV revenue accounted for 70% of all satellite service revenues. This is 27% percent of the industry’s overall revenue. 

      Meanwhile, the satellite TV market continues to decline, logging a 6% decrease year-over-year, driven by increased competition across media space, following the wider trends in the global pay-TV marketplace. 

      The global satellite TV subscriber base is estimated at around 200 million commercial subscribers, plus a similar or slightly higher number of free-to-air satellite TV homes. The report said that U.S. revenues are declining at a higher rate than the rest of the world. 

      Broadband was the standout growth market in the satellite services segment, at 40% growth year-over-year. Consumer broadband revenue is now at $4.8 billion. 

      The report did not name SpaceX’s Starlink constellation directly, but said that 27% subscriber growth in 2023 was largely attributed to Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) systems and dominated by U.S. providers. Starlink recently reported that it passed 3 million subscribers in 2024

      Enterprise satellite service revenue also increased — up about 3% in 2023, to $18.2 billion, with growth in transponder agreements, managed services, and mobile data. 

      Remote sensing posted 10% revenue growth in 2023, reaching $3.2 billion in revenue, with new remote sensing companies contributing to growth. 

      Growth in Launch and Manufacturing 

      Both launch and manufacturing saw revenue growth in 2023, at 2% and 9%, respectively. 

      Worldwide 2023 manufacturing revenues totaled $17.2 billion, an increase of 9% year-over-year. According to the report, 2,781 commercially-procured satellites launched in 2023; 456 more than in 2022. 

      One interesting trend was a major dip in the U.S. share of global manufacturing revenues, despite the U.S. manufacturing the vast majority of commercially procured satellites. In 2023, U.S. share of global revenues declined to 46% — down from 64% in 2022. 

      U.S. firms built about 85% of commercially procured satellites, but U.S satellite manufacturing revenues were 22% lower. According to the report, U.S. manufacturing saw lower government revenue due to fewer deployments of expensive intelligence satellites. 

      The number of large Geostationary Orbit (GEO) orders over the past three years has been mostly stable, with 9 in 2021, 11 in 2022, and 10 in 2023. 

      In the launch sector, 2023 marked another record year for orbital launches — 221 launches in 2023, a 19% increase from 2022. This is about a 2.4 times increase from 2014. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket accounted for 86% of 2023 commercially procured U.S. satellite launches. 

      “Thanks to domestic innovation, a record-breaking 8,000 plus smallsats have been deployed since 2020. As the capability and affordability of all satellites continued to increase, the number of GEO satellites in orbit also increased by 5 percent over 2022. American firms continued to dominate the launch business, building 85 percent of the commercially procured satellites launched in 2023,” commented SIA President Tom Stroup.