139 imaging satellites in the pipeline

by Chris Bergin

Forecast International Inc. – a leading provider of Market Intelligence and Analyses in the areas of aerospace, defence, power systems and military electronics – is projecting the delivery of 139 imaging satellites over the next 10 years, with a total value of over $16 billion.

Classed as Remote Sensing Satellites, India is expected to become a major player in the international market, with 14 satellites already on the order books.

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The production of the satellites is being driven by demand from companies such as DigitalGlobe and GeoEye, with customers ranging from commerical to military applications. 97 of the systems will be in production over the next five years.

The market is finding customers in various markets, such as urban planning and development, search-and-rescue operation, track endangered species and to help protect the Earth’s natural resources.

John Edwards, of the ‘The Market for Civil & Commercial Remote Sensing Satellites’ study, noted that the American commercial remote sensing market is headed toward a period of stability thanks to the acquisition of Space Imaging by Orbimage, now known as GeoEye.

Get Any Game FREE with GamePass‘The narrowing of the field from three down to two should take a burden off the US government, as ensuring adequate support to all three US players had been problematic,” said Edwards.

“Leaning on this government support, US remote sensing operators now seem content to court government business almost exclusively, as there is much less emphasis on development of the commercial base. A rebound toward the commercial side is anticipated but it’s not expected for at least another five years or more.’

The study claimed that through 2009 an average of 19 spacecraft per year will be produced, most of which will be designated for Low Earth Orbit (LEO). 19 such systems are planned for this year, followed by 23 in 2007 and 25 in 2008.

The value of annual LEO satellite production during the first half of the forecast period will range between $848 million at the low end and $3.2 billion at the high end. The study also noted the production of the eight geostationary Earth-orbiting (GEO) spacecraft – valuing at approximately $1.4 billion.

“India’s production plans for remote sensing satellites are ambitious and unrivalled,” Edwards added on the expansion of ISRO’s plans. India currently owns and operates a fleet of six remote sensing satellites.

‘The United States has a handful of large satellites in the pipeline to serve individual companies like DigitalGlobe and GeoEye, but again, these serve individual companies, whereas the ISRO and Antrix drive the plans for Indian production.”

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Earlier this year, the Teal Group Corporation – an analysis of trends within the aerospace/defense market – announced it projects 176 GEO commercial satellites, worth a staggering $28.3 billion, will be launched between 2006 and 2015.

Peaking in 2009 with 23 launches in 2009, the Teal Group note the increase in launches projected by India and China will account for 20 percent of all global launches of GEO commercial satellites.

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