• Satellite Evolution Group

NSR: Satellite constellations drive $3 billion optical satcom market

NSR’s newly released Optical Satellite Communications, 3rd Edition (OSC3) report projects a $3 billion cumulative revenue opportunity through 2030 for laser communication terminals (LCTs) in both space and airborne markets.

The Optical Satcom market is largely equipment-centric, with a significant portion of the revenue flow going to LCT manufacturers. Success in this market will be heavily dependent upon non-GEO constellation operators’ ability to launch and close their business cases, as well as market adoption from government / military institutions looking for alternative solutions in RF-denied environments.

“The market for LCTs rests strongly on the deployment of Non-GEO HTS mega-constellations, particularly if terminal prices come down,” states Shivaprakash Muruganandham, NSR Senior Analyst and report lead author. Muruganandham adds, “Free space optical communications (FSOC) is a niche alternative to today’s RF links. As it matures, a new wave of interest rises in optical satellite communications as a potential market gamechanger”.

Currently, a handful of terminal manufacturers are eyeing this market, ranging from vertically integrated aerospace incumbents with volume production capabilities to newer, leaner, startups targeting niche adjacent segments. Within the next 3 years, over 20 different in-orbit demonstrations are planned to involve LCTs. These will be critical in determining the true potential of optical laser communications.

“On top of satellites, the airborne market for optical lasercomm, specifically for military UAS applications in RF-contested scenarios, will be very attractive in the short-term for terminal manufacturers” explains Arthur Van Eeckhout, NSR Analyst and report co-author. “EO, for its part, is a smaller market, seeing very slow uptake in the commercial sector due to the competition from RF services”.

Many equipment manufacturers are now racing to address the optical satellite communications market with a variety of products aimed at inter-satellite links or direct-to-earth optical connectivity solutions. OSC3 leverages NSR’s extensive analytical experience to offer business- critical insights into what is shaping the optical satcom market and its target segments.