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  • Published On : Oct 2023
  • Code : CMI6473
  • Pages : 150
  • Formats :
      Excel and PDF
  • Industry : Aerospace and Defense

The Space Capsule Market size is expected to reach US$ 10.85 Billion by 2030, from US$ 4.73 Billion in 2023, at a CAGR of 12.6% during the forecast period.

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 establishment of commercial space flights for space tourism are the major factors driving the space capsule market growth.

The Space Capsule Market is segmented by type, orbit type, end use, capacity, propulsion system, and region. By type, the market is segmented into reusable and disposable capsules. Reusable space capsules are the largest and fastest growing segment, owing to the cost benefits offered by multiple launches and advancements in reusable rocket technology by companies like SpaceX.

Space Capsule Market Regional Insights

  • North America is expected to be the largest market for Space Capsule Market during the forecast period, accounting for over 38.5% 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 presence of major space organizations like NASA and SpaceX.
  • The Europe market is expected to be the second-largest market for Space Capsule Market, accounting for over 32.2% of the market share in 2023. The growth of the market in is attributed to the presence of leading space agencies like ESA, increasing space missions, and growing private space sector.
  • The Asia Pacific market is expected to be the fastest-growing market for Space Capsule Market, with a CAGR of over 11.3% 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 growth in small satellite launches. 

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


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, NASA's Artemis program aims to land astronauts on the lunar surface by 2025 and establish a sustained presence by 2028. Such exploratory missions are expected to boost development of next-generation space capsules.
  • 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 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, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are 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 transfer 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 lesser 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. Deep space transport capabilities and reusability offered by space capsules positions 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.

Space Capsule Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2022 Market Size in 2023: US$ 4.73 Bn
Historical Data for: 2018 to 2021 Forecast Period: 2023 - 2030
Forecast Period 2023 to 2030 CAGR: 12.6% 2030 Value Projection: US$ 10.85 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: Reusable, Disposable
  • By Orbit: Low Earth Orbit, Geosynchronous Orbit, Medium Earth Orbit, Elliptical Orbit
  • By End Use: Commercial, Military, Civil, Others
  • By Capacity: Less than 5 people, 5-10 people, More than 10 people
  • By Propulsion: Chemical, Electric, Solar Sail, Nuclear, Others
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
  • Favorable government policies and space programs
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 which 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 which 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-gen reusable space capsules and suborbital space planes.

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.
  • 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 that add to development timelines and costs could slow the adoption of reusable space capsule systems.
  • 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.

Recent Developments

New product launches

  • In July 2022, SpaceX launched its Crew Dragon capsule on the Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station. The reusable capsule transported 4 astronauts into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.
  • In December 2021, Boeing 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.
  • In May 2020, Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser spaceplane completed a captive carry test, bringing it closer to orbital flights for cargo resupply missions.

 Acquisition and partnerships

  • In October 2022, Northrop Grumman acquired Nanoracks to enhance capabilities in commercial space segment like space stations and habitats.
  • In June 2021, Lockheed Martin partnered with Voyager Space to establish space operations business focusing on space capsules and infrastructure.
  • In July 2020, Sierra Nevada Corp. partnered with Redwire to provide commercial space solutions and LIFE habitat modules for the orbital outpost.

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


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: The space capsule market refers to the industry and companies involved in the manufacturing and launch of spacecraft that can transport humans or cargo into outer space, provide life support and re-enter the earth's atmosphere. Space capsules, which include reusable and expendable variants, are used for various civil, commercial and military space applications like space exploration, space tourism, crew or cargo transfer to space stations, maintenance and deployment of satellites in orbit and space research experiments. The market is driven by increasing private sector participation, demand for reusable launch systems and government efforts to facilitate commercial space transportation services. Leading players are engaged in developing advanced space capsule technologies for reliable and cost-efficient access to space.

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Frequently Asked Questions

High development costs, launch failures risk, stringent regulatory policies, and limited launch facilities.

Increased space exploration, reusable launch systems, government investments, and commercial space flights.

The leading component segment is reusable space capsules.

SpaceX, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corp., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, among others.

North America is expected to lead the Market.

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