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  • Published In : Feb 2024
  • Code : CMI6473
  • Pages :150
  • Formats :
      Excel and PDF
  • Industry : Aerospace and Defense

The space capsule Market size was valued at US$ 6.31 Bn in 2023 and is expected to reach US$ 8.86 Bn by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% from 2023 to 2030.

Space Capsule Market Regional Insights

  • North America: North America is expected to be the largest market for the space capsule market during the forecast period, accounting for over 45% of the market share in 2023. The growth of the market in North America is attributed to increasing government and private investments in the commercial space industry and the presence of major space organizations like NASA and SpaceX.
  • Asia Pacific: The Asia Pacific market is expected to be the second-largest market for the space capsule market, with a CAGR of over 26% during the forecast period. The growth of the market in Asia Pacific is attributed to the increasing number of space programs in countries like India and China and the growth of small satellite launches.
  • Europe: The Europe market is expected to be the fastest-growing market for the space capsule market, accounting for over 16% of the market share in 2023. The growth of the market is attributed to the presence of leading space agencies like ESA, increasing space missions, and a growing private space sector.

Figure 1. Global Space Capsule Market Share (%), By Region, 2023

Space Capsule Market By Region

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Global Space Capsule Market: Analyst’s Viewpoint

The space capsule market is poised to grow significantly over the next decade, driven by increasing private space exploration missions and NASA's ambitious plans to return to the Moon by 2024. Lower launch costs due to reusable rockets will boost demand for capsule design and manufacturing. However, strict safety regulations pose a challenge for new participants.

North America currently dominates the global space capsule market, led by SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's Starliner programs. Both are expected to start ferrying astronauts to the International Space Station very soon. Meanwhile, China has emerged as the fastest-growing regional market for capsules as it ramps up manned missions under the tiangong space station program.

Opportunities lie in human-rated deep space capsules capable of housing astronauts for longer missions beyond low-earth orbit. NASA's Orion and Lockheed Martin's concept for the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway present multi-billion-dollar contracts over the next decade. There is also scope for developing advanced life support and thermal control systems that maximize the comfort and endurance of astronauts during prolonged journeys.

 Space Capsule Market Drivers

  • Increasing investments in space exploration missions: The growing interest in space exploration is leading to increased investments in missions beyond Earth's orbit. Several government space agencies have announced ambitious plans for crewed missions to the Moon, Mars, and other deep space destinations over the next decade. These long-duration missions require advanced space capsule capabilities to transport astronauts safely. For instance, in November 2022, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an autonomous agency focused on civil space programs and aeronautics research, successfully launched the Space Launch System rocket from Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This mission involved transporting the Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I flight test.Top of Form The Artemis I mission marks the inaugural integrated flight evaluation of NASA's deep space exploration components, including the Orion spacecraft, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and associated ground systems.
  • Demand for reusable launch systems: Reusable launch systems are revolutionizing the space industry by reducing payload launch costs. Companies are developing reusable space capsules capable of surviving the re-entry process, enabling multiple flights. For example, SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule has been designed for a minimum of five reused flights. Reusable capsules significantly bring down per launch costs compared to expendable capsules, making spaceflights more affordable and accessible. This is fueling further innovation in the segment.
  • Growth in commercial space industry: The commercial space sector is undergoing rapid expansion, aided by decreasing launch costs and the participation of private companies. Firms are investing in space capsules to tap the emerging space tourism market and meet the growing demand for commercial spaceflights. For instance, in July 2021, Blue Origin, an American aerospace manufacturer, defense contractor, launch service provider, and space Technology Company and Virgin Galactic, an American spaceflight company, were developing suborbital vehicles focused on space tourism. Increased satellite deployment activities are also contributing to higher launch demand. Such trends are spurring commercial orders for space capsules.
  • Government space programs and policies: Favorable government policies and public-private partnerships are encouraging private player participation in the space industry. This includes co-development agreements and public funding for R&D. Moreover, initiatives like NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which provides end-to-end astronaut transportation services to the International Space Station, have bolstered private development of crew space capsules. Ongoing investments in national space programs are further supporting market growth.

Space Capsule Market Opportunities

  • Space stations and space habitats: Sustained presence in space for science experiments, microgravity research, space manufacturing, and deep space exploration would require advanced space habitats and space stations. This presents an important long-term opportunity for space capsules, which can enable crew and cargo transfers to such orbital outposts. Companies are already working on inflatable modules, reusable platforms, and other next-gen space station concepts.
  • Point-to-point international travel: Reusable space capsules capable of vertical take-off and landing can potentially enable ultrafast point-to-point international travel in the future. This would involve suborbital flights between spaceports in different countries, transporting passengers across long distances in significantly less time. Companies like Virgin Galactic are actively developing spaceplane technologies for suborbital space tourism, which could eventually scale up for intercontinental travel.
  • Space mining: Space mining, especially asteroid mining, is considered a feasible opportunity in the long run owing to the availability of precious resources like iron, gold, platinum, etc. on near-earth asteroids. This would require space capsules for roundtrip transport of mining spacecraft as well as bringing back payloads to earth. The deep space transport capabilities and reusability offered by space capsules position them as a vital component for future space mining
  • Cargo transportation: Increasing launch demand for small satellites such as CubeSats and nano satellites used for communications, earth observation, and space research is generating substantial demand for dedicated smallsatellite launchers. Reusable space capsules provide a cost-effective cargo transportation option wherein multiple capsules can be launched on a single rocket. Several companies are developing space capsules focused specifically on the smallsat launch segment. In November 2023, NASA is set to broadcast live as the Roscosmos Progress 86 cargo spacecraft docks at the International Space Station, delivering approximately three tons of provisions, including food, fuel, and essential supplies for the Expedition 70 team on board.

Space Capsule Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2022 Market Size in 2023: US$ 6.31 Bn
Historical Data for: 2018 to 2021 Forecast Period: 2023 - 2030
Forecast Period 2023 to 2030 CAGR: 5% 2030 Value Projection: US$ 8.86 Bn
Geographies covered:
  • North America: U.S. and Canada
  • Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America
  • Europe: Germany, U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, ASEAN, and Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa:  GCC Countries, Israel,  South Africa, North Africa, and Central Africa and Rest of Middle East
Segments covered:
  • By Type: Manual Space Capsule, Unmanned Space Capsule
  • By Orbit: Low Earth Orbit, Geosynchronous Orbit, Medium Earth Orbit, Elliptical Orbit, Others (Sun-synchronous, polar)
  • By Capacity: Less than 5 people, 5-10 people, More than 10 people
  • By Component:  Propulsion System, Power System, Communication System, Thermal Control System, Guidance and Navigation System, and Payloads
  • By End Use: Commercial, Military, Civil, Others (academic, research)
Companies covered:

SpaceX, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corp., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, Exos Aerospace, Firefly Aerospace, ULA, Rocket Lab, Vector Launch, Orbex, Relativity Space, Arianespace, IHI Aerospace, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Dynetics, Energia, Thales Alenia Space

Growth Drivers:
  • Increasing space exploration missions
  • Demand for reusable launch systems
  • Growth in commercial space industry
  • Government space  programs and policies
Restraints & Challenges:
  • High development and production costs
  • Technological barriers to reusability
  • Stringent regulatory standards

Space Capsule Market Trends

  • Development of crewed reusable space capsules: Firms are increasingly focusing on reusable space capsule designs that can carry astronauts to low earth orbit and beyond. This includes advanced crew capsules purpose-built for reusability, such as SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's Starliner. Reusable crew-capable space capsules lower the per-seat launch costs considerably compared to expendable capsules, making human spaceflight more economical.
  • Inflatable space habitats: Inflatable space habitat modules that can be deployed from space capsules are garnering significant interest. These provide much larger interior volume while occupying minimal space during launch. Companies like Bigelow Aerospace, NanoRacks, and Northrop Grumman have developed prototype inflatable space station modules that can be transported to orbit in space capsules.
  • Advanced thermal protection systems: With reusability emerging as a priority, R&D is focused on more durable thermal protection systems for space capsules to withstand the rigors of re-entry heating. This includes materials like lightweight ceramics and ablative composites, as well as design innovations like retractable shielding. Enhanced thermal protection allows space capsules to survive multiple reentries, enabling reuse.
  • Hybrid propulsion systems: The development of hybrid rocket propulsion combining solid and liquid fuels is an important trend for space capsules. Hybrid systems offer advantages like throttle control, higher performance, and increased safety. Several space companies are working on hybrid engine technologies to power next- generation reusable space capsules and suborbital space planes. In September 2022, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) achieved a successful trial of a hybrid motor, suggesting potential advancements for upcoming launch vehicles' propulsion systems. The 30 kN hybrid motor underwent testing at the ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) located in Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu, as announced by the space agency based in Bengaluru.

Space Capsule Market Restraints

  • High development and production costs: Developing space capsules requires heavy upfront investments in research, exhaustive testing, and ensuring stringent quality standards. Production costs are also high due to specialized materials, complex subsystems, and low manufacturing volumes. This makes space capsules expensive to manufacture compared to traditional spacecraft. The cost factor could, therefore, restrain uptake.
  • Counter Balance: The invaluable scientific insights, technological innovations, and international collaboration fostered through space capsule development can yield societal benefits, inspire future generations, and open doors to new frontiers in space exploration. Thus, while cost considerations are significant, the multifaceted advantages and long-term vision associated with space capsules justify the investments and underscore their pivotal role in advancing space exploration endeavors.
  • Technological barriers to reusability: Enabling full and rapid reusability of space capsules is faced with significant technological obstacles like designing thermal protection systems to handle repetitive reentries and rocket propulsion advancements. These technical challenges, which add to development timelines and costs, could slow the adoption of reusable space capsule systems.
  • Counter Balance: The pursuit of reusable space capsules aligns with broader sustainability goals for space exploration, minimizing space debris and reducing environmental impacts associated with frequent launches.
  • Stringent regulatory standards: The space industry is subject to extremely stringent safety and quality regulations. Space capsules have to be certified safe for human spaceflight, requiring tremendous amounts of qualification testing and analysis. Additionally, the regulatory approval processes are slow, which could impact development timelines and market growth.
  • Counter balance: while regulatory approval processes may introduce some delays, they also provide opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and continuous improvement. Engaging in transparent dialogue with regulatory bodies can facilitate smoother interactions, expedite approvals where feasible, and ultimately drive innovation by ensuring that safety remains a paramount consideration throughout the development lifecycle. Therefore, while navigating regulatory landscapes can present challenges, the overarching goal of prioritizing safety and quality serves as a catalyst for innovation, collaboration, and advancement within the dynamic and evolving space industry.

Recent Developments

New product launches

  • In December 2022, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the space agency of India, entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Vyom Space Exploration and Services Private Limited, India-based private space company, for its "human and cargo transportation capsule program," as announced by the primary space agency on Tuesday. The collaboration was orchestrated through India's principal space regulatory entity, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (In-Space).
  • In July 2022, SpaceX is an American spacecraft manufacturer, launch service provider, defense contractor and satellite communications, launched its Crew Dragon capsule on the Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station. The reusable capsule transported four astronauts into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.
  • In May 2022, Boeing is a multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets, satellites, telecommunications equipment, and missiles worldwide, launched its CST-100 Starliner capsule on an uncrewed Orbital Test Flight-2 to the ISS. Although it did not dock with the ISS, the test demonstrated its capabilities.

Acquisition and partnerships

  • In November 2023, India's space organization is considering partnerships with Boeing Co., Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin LLC  is an American aerospace manufacturer, defense contractor, launch service provider and space technologies, and Voyager Space Holdings Inc. develops alternative solutions to support the growth needs of commercial space companies, with an official visit from the NASA chief underscoring the increasing collaboration between the United States and India in the realm of outer space.
  • In October 2023, Varda is a privately held American space research company, entered into a partnership with Southern Launch, a spaceport operator located in Adelaide, Australia. As part of this collaboration, Varda's spacecraft will touch down at the Koonibba Test Range situated northwest of Adelaide. This expansive facility, spanning over 23,000 square kilometers, is specifically designed to accommodate suborbital launches and spacecraft touchdown operations.

Figure 2. Global Space Capsule Market Share (%), By Orbit Type, 2023

Space Capsule Market By Orbit Type

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Top companies in Space Capsule Market

  • SpaceX
  • Boeing
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Blue Origin
  • Virgin Galactic
  • Exos Aerospace
  • Firefly Aerospace
  • United Launch Alliance
  • Rocket Lab
  • Vector Launch
  • Orbex
  • Relativity Space
  • Arianespace
  • IHI Aerospace
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
  • Dynetics
  • Energia
  • Thales Alenia Space

Definition: A space capsule is a specialized spacecraft crafted to ferry astronauts and supplies to space and back. Primarily utilized for tasks like circling Earth, linking up with space stations, or journeying to celestial destinations such as the Moon, these capsules ensure the safety of astronauts during crucial phases like liftoff, return, and touchdown. Notable space capsules encompass the Apollo Command Module from the lunar Apollo missions, Russia's Soyuz spacecraft for crewed trips to the International Space Station, and SpaceX's Crew Dragon, tailored for NASA's Commercial Crew initiative.

Space capsules are spacecraft designed to transport humans and cargo into space and back. They provide life support systems for astronauts and protect them from extreme temperatures and radiation during spaceflight. The growing number of space exploration missions and the establishment of commercial space flights for space tourism are the major factors driving the space capsule market’s growth.

The space capsule market is segmented by type, orbit type, capacity, component, end-use, and region. By component, the market is segmented into propulsion systems, power systems, communication systems, thermal control systems, guidance and navigation systems, and payloads. Propulsion systems are the largest and fastest-growing segment, as enhanced propulsion systems allow spacecraft to cover greater distances and attain increased velocities in deep space.

Frequently Asked Questions

High development and production costs, technological barriers to reusability, and stringent regulatory standards are the key factors hampering growth of the space capsule market.

Increasing investments in space exploration missions, demand for reusable launch systems, growth in commercial space industry, and government space programs and policies are the major factors driving the space capsule market growth.

The leading segment is low earth orbit in the space capsule market.         

SpaceX, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corp., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic Exos Aerospace, Firefly Aerospace, United Launch Alliance, Rocket Lab, Vector Launch, Orbex, Relativity Space, Arianespace, IHI Aerospace, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Dynetics, Energia, and Thales Alenia Space

North America is expected to lead the space capsule market.

The CAGR is expected to be 5% from 2023-2030.

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