The launch failure Thursday of a Russian Proton rocket is putting the squeeze on the commercial satellite industry.


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The competition heats up: The launch failure Thursday of a Russian Proton rocket is putting the squeeze on the commercial satellite industry.

Periodically I am told by launch industry experts that the launch industry doesn’t have sufficient demand or capacity for more launch companies. It was this logic, for example, that prompted Boeing and Lockheed Martin to combine into ULA and do a bulk buy with the Air Force. Otherwise, they claimed, they didn’t have enough business to compete with each other and stay in business.

This article above puts the lie to these claims. Not only is there plenty of demand, companies like SpaceX would probably up their fees if they wanted to because the supply does not even come close to meeting the demand. In fact, satellite companies want to get their satellites into orbit and can’t because of a shortage of launch services.

This shortage is an opportunity, not only for the companies that exist but for any new companies trying to get started, such as Stratolaunch. Rather than sit on their hands, as have Boeing and Lockheed Martin, an ambitious and competitive effort here could win market share and make lots of money.

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2 comments

  • Robert Clark

    Great point. The market will only get even larger with increases in the developing countries for HD TV sat comms and for satellite communication systems like the IRIDIUM expansion.

    Bob Clark

  • Kelly Starks

    >..I am told by launch industry experts that the launch industry doesn’t have sufficient demand or capacity for more launch companies….
    >…This article above puts the lie to these claims. Not only is there plenty of demand, … In fact, satellite companies want to get their
    > satellites into orbit and can’t because of a shortage of launch services….

    That’s a rediculas statement Bob. There’s so few launches globally (generally only a couple dozen a year), half the worlds few launches locked up by local providers or bid by highly subsidized ones like Arianne (or SpaceX given their sttaements), and, and ITAR, and billions in upfrount costs to develop the launchers – its a fools game. Even when the recently ex-Soviets dumped launchers on the market for nearly 1/10th going rates the market didn’t surge much is at all. Hence why all the providers starved out.

    Your assumption that you know better then dozens of old space and new space companies over the past few decades – and their stockholders, is more then a little presumptuous.

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