Defense has been a priority throughout the Space Age. In fact, the design for the first rockets was based on that of intercontinental missiles. Even if we refuse to delve into the fact that the Outer Space Treaty prohibits arms in space, military needs have historically been a clear driver of the space industry. Governments, via traditional aerospace firms, have liberally invested in the construction of spy satellites and military communication networks. GPS, which seems so normal today, was originally a US-government project that would provide the military with a system to determine the location and local time for armed forces anywhere in the world.
It seems unlikely for ‘new space’ companies to enter the market through these types of projects. Nevertheless, there are certain services that private companies, such as Thales Alenia, can provide in terms of security, especially where governments are lacking in infrastructure.
Since traffic in space is increasing, companies could provide governments with data on all launches. Initiatives like the Space Data Association, could be of interest to the military. They share data on commercial-satellite orbits as well as their radio-frequency use; the military would not need to worry about collecting this data itself. This data helps prevent collisions and close calls between satellites. The military could use commercial satellites to obtain additional bandwidth. They could install transmitters in commercial satellites or even rent channels, transmitters or entire satellites. In fact, the United States Department of Defense obtains 80% of the capacity that it needs through an annual investment of close to $1 billion. The military could also turn to pseudo-satellites from the private sector: planes, balloons or airships that fly at altitudes of 20-50 kilometers. These vessels can provide communication and observation services, private reconnaissance, drone control, anti-interference technology and protection against nuclear radiation.
According to SpaceNews. roughly 11 billion euros will be set aside for the United States in 2019. According to Deloitte, global revenue in 2017 equaled 605.6 billion euros. Therefore total market value is estimated at more than 22.5 billion euros.
This market size is €22 billion approximately.
The role of companies in defense operations in space
Conference by Eduardo Bellido, CEO of Thales Alenia Space Spain, at the XXXI Future Trends Forum about the Commercialization of Space.
Eduardo gives some examples of operations that have been developed in the field of defense in the commercialization of space.
Space Industry Applications
Manufacture products in orbit.
Carry out scientific and technical research in space.
Observe the behaviour of the Earth
Facilitate the communication on Earth.
Defend the Earth´s safety from space.
Extract new materials in space.
Create new drugs in space.
Create space tourism activities.
Create new ways of reaching space.