The growing space business

The growing space business

The space economy is gaining ground, with 6.5 billion euros raised in Q1 2024, mainly in satellite communications and infrastructure.

Investment in the space economy: continued growth

In the first quarter of 2024, the space sector saw a significant increase in funding, reaching around 6.5 billion euros. This represents a 33% increase on the previous quarter. This increased interest in the space economy reflects continuing investor confidence, particularly in satellite communications and space infrastructure. A large proportion of these investments benefited mature companies, especially late-stage startups, which received around 66% of the total, or 4.3 billion euros. By contrast, investments in the growth phase fell by 51%, which does not seem to indicate a general slowdown in the sector, which is still expanding.

The impact of China’s G60 satellite constellation

One of the biggest deals of the quarter involved Shanghai Spacecom Satellite Technology (SSST), which raised 935 million euros. SSST is a key player in the 12,000-satellite low-earth orbit constellation project known as “G60”. This project, along with the national network of 13,000 Guo Wang satellites currently under construction, are important initiatives for China, enabling it to compete with the likes of Elon Musk’s Starlink. These developments underline China’s intensifying efforts to become a major player in satellite communications and orbital infrastructure, signifying a structural shift in the industry towards more accessible and affordable connectivity services.

The growing space business

Developments in infrastructure and geospatial applications

Beyond satellite communications, the first quarter also saw significant advances in satellite infrastructure and geospatial applications. Investments in these areas exceeded those in satellite communications for the first time, indicating a growing demand for geospatial data. This evolution shows a shift in focus from putting satellites into orbit to exploiting the capacity now available. This underlines the shift in industry priorities towards the development of technologies and services that can exploit data collected from space.

Future prospects: IPOs and technological advances

In the long term, several space companies are planning IPOs, which could significantly influence the sector’s financial landscape. For example, Astroscale, a Japanese startup specializing in space debris disposal, is planning an IPO in Tokyo as early as June 2024. On the other hand, Sierra Space, valued at 5.3 billion euros, is also planning an IPO within the next 12 to 18 months. These initiatives demonstrate the growing maturity of the space industry and its potential for future development, particularly in terms of de-risking technologies and capital structures.

These developments suggest not only a promising future for the space economy, but also a progressive alignment with global technological and commercial needs.

War Wings Daily is an independant magazine.