A Falcon 9 rocket is carrying 49 Starlink satellites into orbit on February 3, 2022.
Russia is rapidly cutting itself off much of the global galaxy industry in response to Western sanctions on the invasion of Ukraine, and U.S. companies are benefiting, according to an analyst report released on Friday.
“Russia and Ukraine for decades have made significant contributions to the global space industry.
powerhouses of rocketry and propulsion expertise, providing launch services and engine systems to customers around the world, ”Quilty Analytics, a research and investment firm that specializes in space ventures, wrote in an industry briefing.
Russia’s state -run space agency Roscosmos, with its Soyuz rockets, has long been one of the industry’s leading suppliers of launch vehicles – delivering satellites, cargo and crew into orbit.
While Russia retaliated and withdrew launch services for American and European organizations, Quilty sees American companies as net beneficiaries, with few satellites looking for orbiting routes. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is “the big winner” in the launch market, research firm founder Chris Quilty told CNBC.
So far, SpaceX’s Starlink competitor OneWeb said on Monday that it will hand over launches of its internet satellites to the Musk company, after concluding its launch agreement with Russia’s Roscosmos. OneWeb says the launch with SpaceX will begin later this year.
“Russia’s launch activity is being pulled from the market at the exact moment that launch rates reach new highs. Someone has to get this demand, but Europe’s position is not good because of the top its down -market strategy, ”Quilty said. .
Beyond SpaceX, other companies providing space station services and building new habitats in orbit – such as Boeing, Axiom, Sierra Space, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Voyager – will benefit. Quilty also sees Iridium Communications profiting from providing satellite communications to Ukrainian and NATO forces.
Russia’s revenge in space
A Soyuz 2 rocket will launch 36 OneWeb satellites on March 25, 2020 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia.
Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, it began retaliating with sanctions by Roscosmos-by suspending OneWeb’s satellite internet launch earlier this month, one of the country’s first actions.
Quilty described Russia’s space retaliation into four categories:
- Soyuz rockets have been removed from the European launch market
- Stopping rocket engine sales in the United States
- Threat of dissolution of the International Space Station partnership
- A cyberattack that disabled Viasat broadband service in Ukraine and other parts of Europe
In satellite and spacecraft manufacturing, Russia’s EDB Fakel makes propulsion units and supplies electric thrusters to OneWeb, Quilty says, as well as “some” making large geosynchronous satellites.
“EDB Fakel estimates that it has approximately 10% of the global spacecraft market, a share that is likely to be lost to them due to the actions of the Russian government,” Quilty wrote.
The impact of removing Soyuz rockets from most of the global launch market also has a serious impact. Soyuz has long played an important role at the heart of the market launch and has been a staple for Roscosmos and the Russian space program.
Soyuz has also benefited significantly from the West’s demand for launches, where international civilian customers have accounted for 51% of Soyuz missions since 2000, Quilty said. Additionally, Russia’s launch infrastructure, with three major spaceports, has accounted for a quarter of global launch activity since 2010, the company said.
“The loss of Western customers and sources of demand (such as the ISS) will hurt the economy,” Quilty wrote.
Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket flew from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on August 10, 2021 carrying a Cygnus spacecraft loaded for the International Space Station.
Terry Zaperach/NASA Wallops
There will be demand for other suppliers and possibly a new space station if Russia early withdraws from the ISS partnership, or at least does not extend its role beyond 2024, the company said.
Companies in the US expanse will benefit. Quilty found that several companies are likely to fill this space with services – including SpaceX and Sierra Space delivering cargo, Boeing and SpaceX delivering crews, and the four private space construction stations: Axiom’s, Northrop’s, Starlab and Orbital Reef.
Quilty also identified five satellite imagery companies – Maxar, Planet, ICEYE, Capella and BlackSky – as benefiting from the same -day request for information on the situation in Ukraine.
“A handful of companies took the lead in providing optical, hyperspectral and SAR imagery during the Russia-Ukrainian conflict, but most (if not all) EO players will benefit from this exposure without prior notice,” he said. written by Quilty.
In satellite communications, Quilty thinks Iridium will see increased demand for Certus broadband and its push-to-talk devices and services.
“Iridium typically experiences spikes in demand for its narrowband voice/data services during a global crisis, including earthquakes, weather events and military conflicts,” Quilty wrote.
But Quilty also warned that Iridium could “face a backlash in Russia”, where the company provides services to “thousands of users, especially in the energy sector”.
While the United Launch Alliance, the rocket-building joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed, is using the Russian-made RD-180 engine to power its Atlas V rockets, the end of engine sales is ‘not a big loss. for ULA ‘because the company already has the machines it needs as it stops using the Atlas V. However, ULA will not benefit Soyuz’s stranded customers, Quilty says, because the Vulcan series of replacement rockets for the company have not yet debuted, and the remaining Atlas V rockets are already in reserve.
Northrop Grumman, on the other hand, still buys Russian-made RD-181 engines to power its Antares rockets. Additionally, the main body of the rocket was made by Ukraine’s state-owned Yuzhmash, making Antares “extremely dependent” and arguably Russia’s “most compromised in the war” series of American rockets. While Northrop Grumman said it has what it needs to complete two more Antares launches, covering mission orders until early 2023, the future of the rocket is uncertain.
“Without a resolution to the war, it is not clear how Antares will proceed without a complete overhaul. NASA is Northrop Grumman’s sole customer for the rocket,” Quilty wrote.