TECH BUYER Apr 2022 - IDC Perspective - Doc # CA48406022

Space — The Crowded Frontier: LEO Satellite Constellations 2021–2022 Update

By:

Lawrence Surtees
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Abstract

This IDC Perspective provides an update on the status of a dozen major global low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations. More than a dozen small satellite operators have begun to place giant constellation swarms — many with tens of thousands of satellites — into low Earth orbit in a bid to make broadband internet and 5G wireless coverage truly globally ubiquitous. This study updates developments in the past year with LEO constellation operators, compares the metrics of leading operators, and provides an analysis of major challenges facing LEO operators posed by orbital congestion and the massive increase in space debris.

"Space has become a crowded frontier that is increasingly competitive, contested — and congested," says Lawrence Surtees, report author and vice president, Communications Research at IDC Canada. "Yet at the same time, the precious and increasingly important orbital regions in near-space surrounding Earth have also become a floating junkyard of hundreds of thousands of pieces of debris, threatening the viability of these constellations and presenting an urgent international challenge to mitigate this growing hazard," said Surtees.


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