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Next-Gen Space Tech

Technology to explore opportunities beyond Earth

Overview

Life is still far from becoming the long-promised multi-planetary stage. But rest assured, it is slowly and surely going in that direction. The increase in population is taking a toll on Earth’s finite resources and experts and astronauts believe that humans must become a multi-planetary species and colonize other planets for long-term survival. 

Thanks to the competitive market created by the rise of private players, the cost of space flight and access to space has decreased dramatically over the decades. The new space economy has resulted in startups competing in new segments such as space tourism and space mining to open up space access to humans. While space tourism is currently aimed at the elite wealthy due to its high price tag, it has the potential to be more accessible in the future when the costs decline.

What's driving this industry?
Market Sizing

US next-gen space tech market to reach USD 2.6 billion–7.3 billion by 2030

Conservative case

USD 2.6 Bn

0.5% penetration
Base Case

USD 5.0 Bn

1.0% penetration
Expansion case

USD 7.3 Bn

1.5% penetration
USD billion0123456782021202220232024202520262027202820292030
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Market Mapping


Space travel and space launch startups are the most established and prominent

Space travel and space launch startups are the most common, consisting mainly of somewhat mature companies, mostly in the growth stage. Space Stations is another segment of growth and early stage companies, although with a limited number of players. 

Space debris management segment consists of a mix of somewhat established disruptors who are involved in debris tracking while disruptors that solely focus on debris removal are at seed or pre-seed stages. Space mining is a nascent segment, which is yet to be commercialised with several seed and pre-seed disruptors.

Incumbents
Growth
Early
Seed
Pre-Seed
Space travel and space launch
?
Space stations
?
Space debris management
?
Space exploration robotics
?
Space mining
?
Corporation
Corporation
Corporation
Corporation
Corporation
Lockheed Martin
Boeing
Airbus
Northrop Grumman
Arianespace
Obayashi Corporation
SpaceX
Sierra Space
Relativity Space
Rocket Lab
Virgin Galactic
Virgin Orbit
ABL space systems
Astrobotic Technology
Spaceflight Inc.
Blue Origin
Firefly Aerospace Inc.
X-Bow Systems Inc.
Space Perspective
PLD Space
World View Enterprises
Phantom Space Corporation
Orbite
Lockheed Martin
Boeing
Airbus
Northrop Grumman
Thales Group
Sierra Space
Blue Origin
Nanoracks
Axiom Space
Bigelow Aerospace
Orbital Assembly
Airbus
Northrop Grumman
Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Astroscale
Nanoracks
GITAI
Orbit Fab
Intuitive Machines
Starfish Space
ClearSpace
Offworld
Obruta Space Solutions
Transastra
Orbit Guardians
Lockheed Martin
Thales Group
Astrobotic Technology
ANYbotics
GITAI
Squishy Robotics
Intuitive Machines
Motiv Space Systems
Ispace Inc
Offworld
The Asteroid Mining Corporation
Thales Group
Ispace Inc
Lunar Outpost
Offworld
Transastra
The Asteroid Mining Corporation
SpaceGold

The Disruptors


Includes some of the well funded startups such as SpaceX, which is one of the most valuable startups in the US

The industry is well funded and includes government funding as government agencies provide funds toward space technology every year, in an attempt to encourage private companies to participate in space activities.  

SpaceX is the highest funded, having raised almost 7x as much as the next highest, Sierra Space. Billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX is one of the most valuable startups in the US, while other notable players include billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, which is listed.

Space travel and space launch

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Rocket Lab
Public - Market cap USD 1.9 bn
Virgin Galactic
Public - Market cap USD 1.2 bn
Virgin Orbit
Public - Market cap USD 1.0 bn
SpaceX
10010
Sierra Space
1400
Relativity Space
1336
ABL space systems
419
Firefly Aerospace Inc.
272
Astrobotic Technology
212
Spaceflight Inc.
204
Blue Origin
167
Space Perspective
64
PLD Space
60
World View Enterprises
49
X-Bow Systems Inc.
30
Phantom Space Corporation
28
Watchlist
?
Orbite

Space stations

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Sierra Space
1400
Blue Origin
167
Nanoracks
160
Axiom Space
150
Bigelow Aerospace
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Orbital Assembly

Space debris management

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Astroscale
313
Nanoracks
160
GITAI
22
Orbit Fab
14
Intuitive Machines
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Starfish Space
Transastra
ClearSpace
Offworld
Orbit Guardians
Obruta Space Solutions

Space exploration robotics

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Astrobotic Technology
212
Ispace Inc
175
ANYbotics
22
GITAI
22
Intuitive Machines
Unknown
Motiv Space Systems
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Squishy Robotics
Offworld
The Asteroid Mining Corporation

Space mining

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Ispace Inc
175
Lunar Outpost
12
Watchlist
?
Transastra
Offworld
The Asteroid Mining Corporation
SpaceGold

Rocket Lab

California-based Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company involved in launch services, spacecraft design services, spacecraft components, spacecraft manufacturing, and other spacecraft and on-orbit management solutions.

The company’s Electron small orbital launch vehicle is a reusable orbital-class small rocket that became the second most frequently launched US rocket and fourth most frequent launcher globally in 2021. Electron is powered by Rutherford, Rocket Lab’s electric turbopump 3D printed engines which the company claims is the world’s first 3D-printed, electric-pump-fed rocket engine. The Electron launch vehicle enables operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. The company’s working towards making its Electron launch vehicle the world’s first reusable orbital small rocket and successfully completed the test fire of its first reused engine in September 2022 . Rocket Lab also designs and manufactures the Photon satellite platform, which has been selected to support NASA missions to the moon and Mars, as well as the first private commercial mission to Venus. As of June 2022, the company was developing the Neutron 8-ton payload class launch vehicle, designed for mega constellation deployment, deep space missions, and human spaceflight. The company has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand, and a second launch site in Virginia, US.

The company aims to vertically integrate space solutions and acquired SolAero Holdings, a supplier of space solar power products and precision aerospace structures, for USD 80 million in December 2021. Prior to that, in 4Q21, it acquired Planetary Systems Corporation, a manufacturer of satellite separation systems, for USD 42 million in cash and Space Software Company Advanced Solutions, Inc for USD 40 million. 

Key customers and partnerships

As of end 2021, the company has delivered 109 spacecraft to space across 20 orbital missions for commercial and government customers. Its customers include the US Department of Defense, NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and a number of domestic and international commercial spacecraft operators including Blacksky Holdings, Canon, Kinéis, Capella Space, Planet, OHB Group, and Synspective. The company also won a contract to launch orbital debris removal demonstration mission for Astroscale.

Funding and financials

The company recorded USD 62.2 million in revenue in 2021 (up 77% YoY) mainly due to the USD 21.2 million increase in space systems revenue stemming from strong organic space system products and services and initial contribution from acquisitions that closed in the fourth quarter of 2021. Launch services revenue also increased 18% YoY, mainly due to higher content per launch service agreement for the year. The company’s backlog increased from USD 82 million as of end 2020 to USD 241 million as of end 2021. 

In August 2021, Rocket Lab completed the merger with Vector Acquisition Corporation and commenced trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market under “RKLB” becoming a publicly traded end-to-end space company. Rocket Lab received gross proceeds of USD 777 million from Vector’s trust account and concurrent private investment in public equity (PIPE) financing. Funds were used to speed growth in the space systems market, fund the development of the new reusable, 8-ton payload class Neutron rocket, and support further organic and inorganic growth in the space systems ecosystem and potential future space applications initiatives to deliver data and services from space. The company also received a USD 24.4 million grant from the US Space Force in September 2021.

Segment:
Space travel and space launch
Total funding:
USD 709.4 million
Disruptor Funding History

Space travel and space launch:

Rocket Lab
Virgin Galactic
Virgin Orbit
SpaceX
Sierra Space
Relativity Space
ABL space systems
Firefly Aerospace Inc.
Astrobotic Technology
Spaceflight Inc.
Blue Origin
Space Perspective
PLD Space
World View Enterprises
X-Bow Systems Inc.
Phantom Space Corporation

Space stations:

Sierra Space
Blue Origin
Nanoracks
Axiom Space
Orbital Assembly

Space debris management:

Astroscale
Nanoracks
GITAI
Orbit Fab
Starfish Space
Transastra
ClearSpace
Offworld

Incumbents


Aerospace and defense majors moving toward next-gen space tech

Leading aerospace and defense companies (such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing) have had an active involvement in space activities for over 50 years. More recently, aerospace and national security contractor Sierra Nevada, which engaged in space activities, spun off its space division in 2021 into a separate entity, Sierra Space, to reflect the growth potential it foresees for the space segment.

While a majority of incumbents are from the aerospace and defense industry, there have also been exceptions such as Obayashi Corporation, which is a Japanese construction giant that entered the next-gen space segment through the proposal of a space elevator, slated for completion in 2050. 

Almost all major incumbents engage in in-house developments, while Thales Group engages in space activities through a strategic partnership (called Space Alliance) with Italian aerospace company Leonardo.

Space travel and space launch
Space stations
Space debris management
Space exploration robotics
Space mining
In House Development
M&A
Partnership
Investment
Lockheed Martin
Boeing
Airbus
Northrop Grumman
Thales Group
Arianespace
Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Obayashi Corporation

Notable Investors


No investor data is available

Funding data are powered by Crunchbase
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