Global Satellite Docking System Market 2021
The global satellite docking system market is projected to reach $1,011 million by 2032, exhibiting a growth rate of 31.3% during the forecast period of 2022-2032. This significant growth can be attributed to the enforcement of regulations on space sustainability and the increasing demand for in-orbit services.
The emergence of NewSpace, driven by the growing number of satellite constellations, has contributed to the expansion of the space industry. According to the latest satellite database, it is estimated that 45,131 satellites will be deployed between 2022 and 2032. The majority (85%) of these satellites will be launched and operated by commercial satellite operators, who utilize them for communication, navigation, and Earth observation purposes. In contrast to the past, where satellite launches were primarily conducted by governments for surveillance and other applications, the entry of private companies into the space sector has led to a surge in satellite deployment.
|No. of Pages||
USD 1011 Mn incremental growth between 2021 and 2026
Service Type, End User, Spacecraft Type, Region
|No. of Companies Mentioned||
Commercial satellite operators are keen on optimizing the operational costs of their satellites. This entails prolonging the lifespan of existing satellites and utilizing in-orbit services such as refueling, repairing, and replacement. To facilitate these services, a satellite docking system is required to safely dock with the service satellites, thereby extending the mission duration.
Furthermore, the accumulation of defunct satellites and space debris poses a significant risk of collisions in space. In response to this challenge, private companies have collaborated with government agencies and national space agencies to employ in-orbit service satellites for space cleanup initiatives.
The launch of satellites by commercial operators has witnessed a remarkable increase over the past few years. The global satellite launch forecast predicts the deployment of 45,131 satellites between 2022 and 2032, with over 95% of them operating in low Earth orbit (LEO). This concentration of satellites in one orbital segment intensifies concerns regarding congestion, collision risks, and space debris.
To minimize collision risks, commercial satellite operators are adopting life extension programs to maintain their existing satellites for longer periods. This not only reduces operational costs but also contributes to space debris removal, thereby promoting sustainable space operations.
The global satellite docking system market is experiencing increased investment across all satellite platforms, driving advancements in docking system technology. However, a major challenge lies in the lack of standardization among satellite docking manufacturers. Each developer integrates their own docking system, leading to compatibility issues with target satellites. Furthermore, the diverse types of satellites built by different small operators require a variety of docking solutions.
Drivers of the global satellite docking system market include the growing demand for sustainable space operations and the need to optimize satellite operation costs. On the other hand, challenges include the lack of industry-wide standardization of docking solutions and the impact of reduced manufacturing and launch costs on the financial viability of in-orbit services.
Opportunities in the market include the development of software solutions for rendezvous/proximity operations, the evolution of standardized satellite platforms, and the enhancement of capabilities for rendezvous/proximity operations.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including service type, end user, spacecraft type, and region.
Segmentation by Service Type
Inspection, Repair, and Replacement
Segmentation by End User
Segmentation by Spacecraft Type
Segmentation by Region
The market for global satellite docking systems is categorized by service type, with refueling projected to be the dominant segment, accounting for a 72.13% share in 2032. The market size for refueling is expected to reach $674 million by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 88.4% from 2022 to 2032. In 2021, there was no revenue from in-orbit services, as providers only began generating revenue in 2022. This shift occurred because satellite operators started opting for life extension or refueling of their existing satellites due to the high manufacturing and launch costs of new satellites.
To address the increased number of satellite constellations in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and to extend the lifespan of satellites in geosynchronous orbit, in-orbit service providers have developed solutions for refueling satellites while in orbit. Companies like Orbit Fab, Inc., MDA, LMO, Northrop Grumman, and Astroscale Holdings, Inc. have developed various technologies for transferring propellant to target satellites or for docking mission extension vehicles (MEVs) or mission extension pods (MEPs). Northrop Grumman, a U.S.-based company, has designed and developed MEVs and MEPs that dock with nearly depleted target satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO). These vehicles use their own thrusters and fuel supply to extend the lifespan of client satellites, with the MEP providing approximately six additional years of lifespan.
In February 2022, Northrop Grumman signed a purchase agreement with Singtel Optus Pty Limited to install an MEP on its D3 satellite in 2025. Additionally, Northrop Grumman signed a launch agreement with SpaceX for the launch of MRV and several MEPs, scheduled for spring 2024. In April 2021, Northrop Grumman successfully completed the docking of the Mission Extension Vehicle-2 (MEV-2) to the Intelsat 10-02 satellite to provide life-extension services.
The commercial segment of the satellite docking market reported revenue of $37.5 million in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.9% from 2022 to 2032, reaching $72.0 million by 2032. This growth is attributed to the high number of satellites operated by commercial satellite operators compared to other end users. Commercial operators launch multiple satellite constellations for various applications such as communication, Earth observation, environmental monitoring, and deforestation monitoring. The commercial end user segment is expected to have the highest growth rate during the forecast period due to technological advancements and significant investments made by key players. Moreover, commercial satellite operators have a larger presence in space, requiring more in-orbit services than other end users.
A service satellite refers to a satellite or spacecraft that provides in-orbit services to client satellites, increasing their lifespan and performing repairs when necessary. Satellite operators aim to operate their satellites cost-effectively, therefore opting for life extension missions or orbital refueling to extend their usage time in space. Additionally, the latest satellite database predicts the installation of 45,131 satellites in space between 2022 and 2032, indicating a need to de-orbit certain satellites at the end of their missions. While some satellites de-orbit on their own, others lack sufficient fuel, necessitating the use of service satellites to safely return them to Earth’s surface. These operations require docking mechanisms and other subsystems and components for service satellites.
In terms of regional distribution, North America is projected to hold the largest share (78%) of the satellite docking system market by value in 2021, primarily due to the presence of numerous companies in the region. Europe is estimated to account for a 2% share in 2021 and is expected to experience the second-highest growth during the forecast period, driven by in-orbit services in the U.K., France, and Germany. Increased spending by satellite docking system manufacturers like Astroscale Holdings, Inc., ClearSpace, Momentus Inc., D-Orbit SpA, and government agencies for various applications is expected to drive significant growth in the satellite docking system market throughout the forecast period.
The selection of these profiled companies has been made through a rigorous process that involved gathering inputs from primary experts and conducting an analysis of their company’s coverage, product portfolio, and market penetration.
Key companies profiled in this report include Altius Space Machines, Inc., Astroscale Holdings, Inc., ClearSpace, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman, Orbit Fab, Inc., QinetiQ, Rogue Space Systems Corporation, Starfish Space, D-Orbit SpA, High Earth Orbit Robotics, LMO, Maxar Technologies, Momentus Inc., Obruta Space Solutions Corp., Orbit Recycling, Tethers Unlimited, Inc.
Recent Industry Developments
In November 2022, Starfish Space made an announcement regarding the scheduled launch of its Otter Pup satellite equipped with high-performance low-thrust electric propulsion and a satellite docking system. The launch is planned for spring 2023, with the intention to dock with another satellite in the fall of the same year.
In October 2022, High Earth Orbit (HEO) Robotics entered into a collaboration with Satellogic to integrate Satellogic’s expanding satellite constellation and high-resolution satellite imagery with HEO’s flyby inspection and computer-vision capabilities.
In September 2022, Astroscale Holdings, Inc. secured funding of $1.79 million from the U.K. Space Agency. The funding aims to support the development of technologies and capabilities for the Cleaning Outer Space Mission through Innovative Capture. This mission involves Astroscale’s robotic debris capture capabilities and rendezvous and proximity operations to remove space debris and defunct satellites.
In May 2022, Momentus Inc. signed a partnership agreement with SpaceX for the integration of its Vigoride Orbital Transfer Vehicle and customer payloads on Falcon 9. This collaboration is intended for use in the transporter-5 mission.
In April 2022, Lockheed Martin Corporation introduced an open-source Augmentation System Port Interface (ASPIN). ASPIN is a non-proprietary interface standard designed to facilitate on-orbit servicing and mission augmentation. It employs the Mission Augmentation Port (MAP) interface standard, providing a mechanical interface design for spacecraft docking.
In March 2022, Rogue Space Systems Corporation announced the participation of Seldor Capital as their first institutional investor. This investment will help the company enhance its engineering and operations teams.
In November 2021, Astroscale Holdings, Inc. successfully launched the Docking Plate, a universal docking device for spacecraft. The Docking Plate aims to capture and de-orbit defunct satellites.
In September 2021, Starfish Space secured an investment of approximately $7 million from NFX, MaC Venture Capital, PSL Ventures, Boost VC, Liquid2 Ventures, and Hypothesis.
In September 2021, Orbit Fab, Inc. deployed its inaugural propellant tanker to geostationary orbit. This tanker has been specifically designed for refueling the largest space assets in the harshest orbital regimes.
Key Questions Answered
What are the emerging trends in the satellite docking system market, and how will the market evolve from 2022 to 2032?
What are the primary drivers and challenges faced by satellite docking system manufacturing companies operating in the current market?
How is the market projected to grow throughout the forecast period of 2022 to 2032?
What opportunities exist for companies to expand their presence and operations in the satellite docking system market?
Which region is anticipated to dominate the satellite docking system market by 2032?
What strategic initiatives are key players implementing to maintain their competitiveness in this highly competitive market?
What is the current and future revenue outlook for the satellite docking system market?