Good morning. Yesterday, Congress held their hearing on unidentified aerial sightings. We told you we’d report back if they had found aliens. Sorry to say they didn’t.
In today’s newsletter:
🛰️ Euroconsult space logistics report
📡 SPIR & space services
🔁 On the move
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Exclusive: Euroconsult Space Logistics Markets
Euroconsult has put together the first edition of Space Logistics Markets, an extensive report on the growth of the in-orbit satellite services sector. The market research firm projects that these services will generate $4.4B in revenue by 2031, as the nascent technologies are proven and productized.
The report identifies six markets:
- Access to space
- Last-mile logistics (LML)
- Life extension services
- Active debris removal (ADR)
- Space situational awareness (SSA)
- On-orbit assembly and manufacturing
These sectors are at vastly different stages of development and maturity. Many companies have already brought functional SSA platforms to market, for example, while ADR services and on-orbit assembly/manufacturing are further from commercialization.
Funneling funding: Investors have taken interest in on-orbit services, seeing their potential to make space more profitable, sustainable, and accessible. In the last five years, investors have pumped $715M into 18 space logistics companies over 34 deals.
All eyes on space
At a projected market value of $1.4B over the next ten years, space situational awareness tech is the most mature and largest market for space logistics services.
“From a revenue point of view, safety of satellite operations and increasing risk of collision are driving demand for domain awareness from both governments and commercial customers,” Maxime Puteaux, principal advisor at Euroconsult, told Payload.
As space becomes more and more crowded, satellite operators are looking for more accurate warnings about how close their assets are to other active satellites and to orbital debris. There’s a big opportunity for SSA companies who can provide accurate data and timely communication between operators and government agencies.
Live long and prosper
Life extension services are the second largest market in the space logistics services sector, Euroconsult estimated. The report finds that there are currently 630 GEO communications satellites compatible with planned services approaching end of life by 2045, and that these alone could generate as much as $210M a year in revenue for life extension services.
- Life extension services are still new, but more mature than some other, more nascent technologies within the sector.
- Northrop Grumman is already providing Intelsat with life extension services, and NASA and DARPA are planning to launch a refueling demo mission in the next three years.
Keeping it clean
As we wrote recently, LEO is getting crowded, and a higher density of satellites and debris in space means a higher likelihood of collisions all around.
- There’s not much financial incentive for individual companies to invest in ADR at present, per Euroconsult. Instead, governments will be the buyers.
- “We see growing concern from both sides of the Atlantic and in Japan, which could trigger demand,” Puteaux said.
Closing thoughts: “At the end of the day, adoption of in-orbit services is all about added value for the end customers and how much it helps the satellite operators’ business model, assessed either financially, in time, flexibility, or safety,” said Puteaux.
The full report will be available tomorrow on Euroconsult’s website.
ICYMI: Our Orbital Debris Feature
Payload has published the first installment in our first in-depth series. We dove into the issue of orbital debris—what it is, who’s responsible for it, what the consequences could be, and why the issue is so difficult to regulate and address.
We talked to experts in ADR and SSA tech, as well as leaders in space policy, to map out the current state of the orbital environment.
Orbital debris is frequently referred to as a tragedy of the commons—and that it is. But it’s also a product of short-termism, space races, and governments’ reticence to acknowledge their countries’ impact on Earth’s orbital environment.
Spire ($SPIR) announced this morning that it will launch five satellites with SpaceX on the forthcoming Transporter-5 rideshare mission from Florida. What’s notable is the degree to which the company is playing up its space services business.
- The business unit will have satellites and payloads onboard Transporter-5 for Hancom inSpace, a Korea Aerospace Research Institute spinoff, and Myriota, an Internet of Things provider. It’s also launching a demo mission funded by the UK’s defense ministry.
- Spire procured the satellite/payload rides via its multi-launch agreement with Exolaunch, a German rideshare broker and deployment specialist.
A new acronym for readers
“Space services” is Spire’s SPaaS arm. SPaaS? Why, it’s Space-as-a-Service, of course. With the upcoming mission from the cape, Spire says it will notch a new company record for space services customers on a manifested mission.
- Spire’s pitch to customers = launch an application or product with us and we can abstract away the complexity of getting to space and operating in orbit. Leverage our experience with 150+ spacecraft, 30+ launches, and 350 cumulative years of space heritage.
- The (implicit) pitch to investors = We’re using upfront capital investments to further a sweet, sweet subscription model. That, in theory, produces more predictable streams of recurring revenue and could help a capex-intensive space company command a higher valuation multiple.
Bringing together experience and innovation.
Maxar Space Infrastructure capabilities combine a pioneering legacy with forward-thinking to deliver on the promise of flexible, cost-effective space manufacturing with the reliability we’ve proven for 60 years. Today, more than 2.4 billion people rely on a Maxar-built satellite for connectivity.
Maxar builds solutions for space-based communication, robotics, power and propulsion, Earth observation, exploration and on-orbit servicing and assembly.
Their services include mission systems engineering, product design, spacecraft manufacturing, assembly integration and testing.
In Other News
- SpaceX is raising at a valuation of $125B, Bloomberg reports, which would be a record for a private US company.
- A Falcon 9 launched 53 more V1.5 Starlinks, bringing the total number of satellites deployed to 2,650+ and SpaceX’s 2022 launch count to 21.
- Canaccord’s Austin Moeller slashed the shop’s $RKLB price target from $28 to $16 and maintained a buy rating on Rocket Lab.
- Relativity Space successfully completed mission duty cycle testing for Terran 1’s integrated second stage and acceptance testing for the rocket’s nine Aeon 1 engines at NASA Stennis. More updates to come this week?
- BofA cut its $BA price target from $180 to $150. “We see a significant number of ‘unexpected’ challenges Boeing could still face in the near term,” analyst Ronald Epstein wrote.
- Launcher’s Max Haot shared some comments with us after we published our Monday story about the go-to-market strategy with its orbital transfer vehicle.
The Term Sheet
- Carlyle Group, a DC-based private equity firm, has agreed to acquire ManTech ($MANT) in a deal valued at ~$4.2B. The defense IT contractor works with NASA JPL and USSF, among others.
- Precious Payload, an American/Emirati space services/engineering startup, acquired German company HOSTmi to “fast-forward the commercialization of the European space industry.”
- Dawn Aerospace is raising a $30M Series A, per NBR. The green propulsion developer has two-thirds in soft commitments with “strong interest” beyond the planned $30M, is already profitable and on track to generate $20M in revenue this year, and will grow to 120 full-time employees by March, CEO Stefan Powell told Payload.
- Miratlas, a French atmospheric characterization company, secured €2M (~$2.1M) in seed funding led by Karista.
- Kongtian Dongli, a Chinese satellite electric propulsion startup, raised a multi-million yuan angel round led by Jinshajiang Hongyu and MiraclePlus, per SpaceNews/Chinese media reports.
- Raytheon’s VC arm, RTX Ventures, made a strategic investment in hypersonic aircraft company Hermeus.
- Tropical Weather Analytics (TWA) was listed on crowdfunding platform Spaced Ventures. The satellite weather forecasting startup seeks to raise $50,000–$1M in convertible debt, with a $12M valuation cap.
- Micross Components, a microelectronics provider with space clients, acquired PAAL Technologies.
The View from Space
C-SPAN3 aired live coverage of Tuesday’s House Intelligence subcommittee hearing on unidentified aerial sightings. We’re not exactly going out on a limb when we say this hearing was among the most ~lit~ programming C-SPAN3 has ever carried.