4 Trends Impacting Future Commercial Space Activity at the Cape

The Growing Use of Smallsats – Small satellites, or smallsats, offer the promise of advance capabilities at a lower cost and at a lower overall mass (reducing per-satellite launch costs). Companies are developing increasingly advanced smallsats with a host of use cases, including telecommunications, remote sensing, weather monitoring, and internet-of-things applications. Over 10,000 smallsats are planned for the next decade.

Expanding Use of Smallsat Launch Vehicles – The significant increase in planned smallsats has been accompanied by an increase in planned launch vehicles for them: over 40 dedicated smallsat launch vehicles are in some phase of development.

NASA’s Reliance on Commercial Crew and Cargo – NASA has transitioned the role of transporting cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station to commercial companies NASA’s commercial cargo and crew missions are, and will remain, a steady stream of demand for the Cape.

Continued Use and Introduction of New Medium and Heavy-Class Launch Vehicle – The majority of launch activity at the Cape is carried out by medium and heavy-class launch vehicles. Every major launch vehicle manufacturer, including companies with a significant current presence at the Cape, is developing new launch vehicles. A related aspect of this trend is the development of refurbishable vehicles. Both SpaceX and Blue Origin have or are establishing in-house capabilities at the Cape to conduct refurbishment activities.

Source: Morgan Stanely and Bryce Space and Technology