Press Release

Teal Group Mission Model Counts 34,196 Space Payloads Through 2031

By SpaceRef Editor
March 21, 2022
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Teal Group announced today release of new numbers for its Worldwide Mission Model of space payloads proposed to be built and launched during 2022-2031. In its survey, Teal identified a total of 34,196 satellites, probes and capsules destined for orbit over the next 10 years.

“For more than two decades now, we’ve been annually revising our payload counts,” says Teal’s senior space analyst, Marco Cáceres. “The growth trend in the numbers has been consistent since we first started tracking payloads in 1992, but in the past few years we’ve noticed sharp increases in the payload programs under development and being planned.”

“We’ve had to spend extra time to input an inordinate amount of new payload data to make our database and spreadsheets as complete and accurate as possible,” notes Cáceres.

The upsurge in proposed payloads has been fueled by several “mega-constellations” of commercial broadband communications and Earth imaging satellites by companies in North America, Asia & Pacific Rim and Europe—primarily companies such as SpaceX, OneWeb, Kuiper Systems and China Satellite Network Group that alone would account for at least 30,000 satellites. “And that’s only for their first-generation systems,” says Cáceres. 

“There are dozens of other proposed smaller constellations consisting of hundreds of satellites, compared to the thousands planned by a handful of mega-constellation programs, but even those mega systems may only be the tip of the iceberg. In the end, programs such as Starlink appear to be aiming to operate systems of more than 40,000 satellites.”

Approximately 98 percent of the payloads contained in the Worldwide Mission Model are commercial. The remainder are a mix of civil, military and university & non-profit payloads. About 95 percent of the payloads are destined for low Earth orbits in the range of 500 to 1,500 kilometers in altitude. Some 52 and 44 percent of the payloads would be owned by companies or governments in North America and Asia & Pacific respectively.

The Worldwide Mission Model is a big picture of the payloads that have been proposed to be built and launched. It is not a “forecast” of the space market, but rather a starting point from which to begin to develop individual forecasts based on certain assumptions about the programs, the manufacturers, the operators and competitive and financial factors.

Teal Group is an aerospace and defense market consultancy based in Fairfax, Virginia USA. It provides competitive intelligence to industries and governments worldwide.

SpaceRef staff editor.