Humans explore space only for profit

As the business on land, water and air becomes denser, business in space becomes all the more attractive. Of course, the entire space is too much for people. Therefore, the right term is the near-Earth space. Of particular interest is business through the prism of the space race project between the U.S., Russia, the EU and China.

For example, China plans to launch 100 rockets and 100 satellites in the next five years, announced deputy of the national space agency of China, Zhang Jian Chen. He reported to lawmakers that in 2011 China produced 19 space launches – one more than the U.S., and came in second place behind Russia in the number of rocket launches. In 2012, China plans to launch 30 satellites, including manned spacecraft “Shenzhou-9”, which is expected to deliver the first expedition to the Chinese space station “Tyangun-1.”

The world space market is a rapidly growing market segment of high technology and deep knowledge with the positive potential for development. The formation of the space market is due to the beginning of the processes of international transfer of space technologies on a commercial basis and the commercialization of space activities. Within a short period (50 years) the space market has gone from a monopoly to oligopoly and perfect competition, as evidenced by a sharp increase in the number of market participants.

Over the past ten years the development of the global space market has covered all regions of the world. At the present time, according to the International Space Business Council, the value of the global space market is 300 billion dollars (in 1994 the number was 45 billion, and in 2003 – 96 billion). Experts estimate that in the coming years the market will not grow due to trends in two different directions: reducing government spending on space in the U.S., EU and Japan, as well as an increase of public spending on space in the BRICS countries.

Russia makes 30-32 launches a year, and has a satellite fleet of 90-100 units. China makes 10-12 launches a year, and has a satellite fleet of 70 units. India that makes two or three launches a year and does not have a heavy missile has a constellation of 20 satellites. A satellite group in the U.S. has more than 420 units.

The share of Russia among the leading nations of the world in terms of providing launch services remains high: over 40 percent of all launches carried out in the world in 2011.

Today, the business in space can be divided into three main areas: communications, tourism, and remote sensing for environmental monitoring, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, Cartography and Geodesy, Ministry of Emergency Situations, and Ministry of Nature.

Various forms of satellite communications are used by millions of citizens and thousands of organizations. According to the Space Foundation, approximately 70 percent of the space business accounts for commercial communications systems, including navigation GPS, satellite radio, telecommunications and home satellite television. The world market for satellite communications, in turn, is divided into several segments – the development and manufacture of communications satellites, ground equipment manufacturing, launch services and the actual satellite communication services.

If we talk about the volume of satellite communications market, the investment in the development, production and launch of (space segment) for the period up to 2018 are estimated at approximately $50 billion, accounting for 57.5 percent of total funding for all space systems. At the same time 82 percent of the cost of military satellites and 52 percent of the cost of civilian satellites are the costs of communications satellites. This segment is represented by such companies as Lockheed Martin and Boeing (U.S.), Thales Alenia Space and EADS (Europe), etc.

At the moment there are approximately one hundred of fixed and mobile communications in a geostationary orbit. They include 375 telecommunication satellites. Approximately 240 systems are still under development. The leader of the regional systems is the U.S., while France is the leader in satellite communication systems. The total income of satellite communications industry in 2010 totaled about 160 billion.

This includes revenues from satellite services in the amount of 93 billion dollars, which, in turn, can be divided into income from direct broadcast – $75.3 billion, revenues from fixed-satellite service – $14.5 billion, revenues from mobile satellite services – $2.2 billion.

In addition, there are still profits from the production of ground support equipment – $50 billion, revenues from manufacturing satellites – $13.5 billion, and revenues from launch services – $4.5 billion.

As can be seen from the structure of the income, the bulk of the market share in the satellite communications are services, mostly direct services to television and radio broadcasting.

Space tourism is a recent development. However, there those actively interested in participating in space flights, and businesspeople seeking to work in tourist flights into space. Today, this sector is estimated at 40 million dollars a year, but experts expect it to increase tenfold in the near future.

So far there is only one operator – the International Space Station (ISS). Despite the limited capacity for flights (two missions of “Soyuz” a year, no more than four people, and as a result of the suspension of flights by American space shuttle – even fewer), the number of those interested in these flights is increasing, there is commercial potential of space tourism.

That is, the space tourism market has a clear monopoly on the supply of services directly connected to flights. Despite the fact that the three countries in the world are able to send people into space, the Russian space industry is the only one working in this market. In addition, the only space object that can accept space tourists today is the International Space Station (ISS). However, the ISS is a scientifically oriented orbital complex, originally designed to address research problems, which does not allow meeting all requests for commercial customers in the framework of this project.

At the same time there are several companies in the market that provide mediation services to those who intend to make a space flight. Currently, these companies are competing to represent the interests of the sole provider of flight services. The most famous is the U.S. firm Space Adventures led by businessman Eric Anderson. It recently acquired a “weightless Corporation” – Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G) that has 200 flights scheduled for five thousand customers.

Vladimir Teslenko