A lot of exciting innovation has happened in the private space race, maybe most notably in the commercial sector is the 2017 landing of the reused or ‘flight-tested’ Falcon 9 rocket by SpaceX, the company run by none other than serial entrepreneur and billionaire Elon Musk. Flight tested, is the technical term they prefer, which is understandable as reused is likely harder to market when you’re flying several tons of payloads into space.
The Falcon 9 marks a shift, cutting costs in the ‘space launching service’ industry drastically. Which has led to an ongoing global restructuring to meet competitive pressures in the industry. Aerospace companies are segmenting their own place within the market, a market which is being split up in increasingly smaller bits by increasingly more players, particularly launch service providers. The number of launches though has largely stayed the same. This indicates that the launch service industry is oversaturated, for now, which will continue to push launch cost and prices down.
There is also a shift in competitive strategies among the aerospace community, where companies are providing better launching schedules and cutting fees regarding late or cancelled projects with partners. The satellite industry has started to notice and is benefiting greatly from the much wider range of launch service providers and the lower costs.
Another big shift in recent years is that the geographical location of rocket launches has moved. Russia stood for half of all launched payloads in 2013, but by 2018 this had shrunk to 10% of the worldwide total. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogazin stated in an interview that there was no point trying to elbow Musk and China aside, but rather focus on aerospace manufacturing.
SpaceX, and their Falcon 9 has undoubtably had a lot to do with these shifts, but despite their innovative rocket technology, they are still a relatively young and unexperienced contender in an industry dominated by historic behemoths. SpaceX does make it to number 6 on my list though, which is impressive when considering they’re competing with companies that have a couple of decades head start.
But enough staling, for this article, I simply wanted to know who the biggest companies in space were, and how much they had in revenue. So, without further ado, here are the 7 biggest private space companies today, measured by their annual revenue.
$21,1 Billion (2017) - Boeing Defence, Space & Security
With a long history, Boeing continues to be the biggest commercial player in space with its production of rockets, even with a planned reusable version, the Phantom Express. They also make satellites, space shuttles, GPS technology, and have had a significant part in building the International Space Station. Boeing also have their own plans for future Mars missions.
$14,7 Billion (2017) - UTC Aerospace Systems
The US based supplier of aerospace and defense products is specialized in producing aircraft systems, power control, and sensing systems. Number two on my list is maybe not as known as Boeing, or SpaceX, but provide many of the systems used in spaceflight today, including space suits, and life support.
$12,1 Billion (2017) - Airbus Defence and Space
A European producer of military and space equipment including satellites, navigation, and aerospace rocket launchers. Airbus has its headquarters in Germany with additional locations across 35 countries.
$9,5 Billion (2017) - Lockheed Martin Space Systems
Us based and with products ranging from satellites to space probes. They even work with NASA on their Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Space shuttle External Tank.
$4,7 Billion (2017) - Orbital ATK Inc
The company which was purchased by Northrop Grumman in 2018 design, build and deliver space systems primarily within rockets, rocket engines and communications systems.
$1,8 Billion (2017 Estimate) - SpaceX
‘Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’, more commonly known as SpaceX is a private US based aerospace manufacturer and transportation service provider. In 2016 they had a global market share in commercial launch contracts of 30%. The estimate for 2018 is about 65%. Space X is maybe most know for its famous CEO Elon Musk and of course the first reusable rocket Falcon 9, which successfully launched on March 30, 2017.
$1,6 Billion (2015) Arianespace
Last place with only $1,6 billion is a multinational company with headquarters in France. Arianespace is the marketing and sales organization for the European Space Industry and is therefore involved with many various space components and projects. Arianespace was also the first commercial launch service provider which started in 1980.
So, there you have it, the 7 biggest commercial companies in the space race!
You can finally rest easy now!
Until Next time,