TAMPA, Fla. — Global satellite industry revenue climbed 2% year-on-year to $285 billion for 2023, according to the Satellite Industry Association’s 27th annual space economy snapshot released June 13.

The analysis showed growth across the spacecraft manufacturing, launch and ground equipment sectors, offset by a decrease in satellite services mainly due to the declining market for satellite TV.

Excluding video, the research conducted by analysts at BryceTech concluded global satellite industry revenue would have soared 5%.

Record growth

Satellite manufacturing revenue jumped 9% to $17.2 billion, driven by more flexible software-defined payloads, increasingly capable small satellites and scalable production processes.

Manufacturers based in the United States built about 85% of the commercially procured satellites launched in 2023.

However, the report found the U.S. share of global satellite manufacturing revenues fell from 64% in 2022 to 46% for 2023, attributed to fewer expensive intelligence spacecraft.

The U.S. share of global launch revenue also slipped slightly from 56% to 54%.

Global launch revenue increased 2% year-on-year to $7.2 billion amid an 18% rise in commercially procured rockets, mostly for low Earth orbit (LEO).

The research underlined competitive U.S. commercial launch prices as a key trend in the market. 

There were a record 190 commercially procured launches in 2023, an 18% increase from 2022. These launches deployed 2,781 commercial satellites, up 20% on the year and largely driven by SpaceX.

SpaceX once again dominated the sector in the United States, where 89 of the 104 commercially procured satellite launches were of Falcon 9 rockets. Of these, 64 launched satellites for the Starlink broadband constellation SpaceX also owns.

In total, the research recorded 9,691 active satellites in orbit by the end of 2023, up 361% over the past five years.

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) gear provided the bulk of the $150.4 billion satellite ground equipment revenue recorded worldwide in 2023, a 4% year-on-year increase. 

Services drag

Global satellite services revenue, however, dropped 2.7% to $110.2 billion despite 40% and 27% growth in broadband sales and subscribers, respectively.

While satellite TV revenues pulled the services segment down 6%, amid a general shift to online streaming, the report also highlighted a 1% fall in satellite radio sales because of fewer automaker promotional subscriptions.

In a first for the SIA’s State of the Satellite Industry Report, the analysis included a section on space sustainability to encompass activities such as in-orbit servicing and space situational awareness (SSA). This space sustainability market likely made more than $300 million in 2023, according to the analysis, with SSA representing about three-quarters of worldwide revenue.

Overall, when including government space budgets and commercial human spaceflight activities, the report said the global space economy increased 2% to $400 billion.

Major investment banks have forecast a trillion-dollar space economy by 2040.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...