NSR’s newly released Space Traffic Study, 2nd Edition report finds that commercialisation of more segments of the space value-chain is driving a rapid increase in traffic volumes. Although markets such as Earth Observation or Space Tourism still only account for 5 percent of the cumulative data volumes between 2021 and 2031, cloud connectivity and increased investments to downlink data ‘from space’ are paying off in total data volumes.
“Data from space is an increasingly important and recognised part of our lives here on Earth,” states Research Director, Brad Grady. “As current events highlight, space-based data gives us an unprecedented understanding of the world around us.”
Launches to space (Satellites or Humans) are nearly commonplace, and more corners of the world are gaining internet access through space-based connectivity from GEO/MEO/LEO.
“Although government budgets still have an outsized influence on the space industry,” notes NSR Research Analyst, Hannah Currivan the growing commercialisation of space travel, Earth observation, and internet connectivity drives growth.” Overall, it is still data transmitted through space which drives market dynamics.
Growing more than 60 exabytes of cumulative traffic volumes compared to NSR’s first edition study, challenges in GEO offset near-term growth in Applications and Infrastructure. Although growth favors LEO/MEO satellite connectivity, it is still GEO which will remain the largest source of traffic volumes from 2021 to 2031.
While the difference between these competing orbits continues to shrink, highly affordable terminals and other LEO setbacks cannot offset the inertia behind GEO connectivity plays. A migration from video to data and GEO closer to earth is all underway in the connectivity market which accounts for 95% of cumulative data volumes.
Overall, signs are starting to show that things other than connectivity are transforming the space sector. While satellite communications is ‘the use-case’ fueling space data traffic volumes, there are new and growing markets that provide greenfield opportunities for established and emerging players.
Bottom Line – Cloud connectivity, commercialisation, and ‘more data from more places’ – are the key ingredients for space data traffic growth through 2031.