While multiple satellite radio companies have been started over the past decade, the only one currently operating is Sirius XM, based in the United States. Sirius XM had $4.57 billion in revenue in 2015.
Satellites in geostationary orbit are capable of broadcasting signals over very large areas, making them ideal for distribution of television and radio signals around the world. Digital TV Research Limited, a market research firm, estimated that global satellite television revenues would overtake global cable television revenues in 2015. Satellite television is the largest contributor to the commercial space products and services category, making up 77% of this sector.
Independent Research and Development (IR&D) refers to a contractor’s own investment in research and development studies into promising technologies of potential interest to government or commercial customers. Companies can recover a portion of these costs as overhead on current government contracts. In 2015, IR&D spending was estimated to be $165 million.
Infrastructure support industries include activities that do not directly involve development or use of space assets, but are necessary to the smooth operation and advancement of the industry. This category includes space insurance and privately funded research and development. Space premiums in 2015 amounted to $726.6 million, their lowest level since 2001. Seven events, including both launch failures and incidents involving satellites in orbit, led to market losses of $664.3 million, resulting in $62.2 million in profits. This is a significant decrease from the $222.5 million in profits in 2014, but an increase from the $23.3 million in losses in 2013
In 2015, NASA put in orders with both SpaceX and Boeing to conduct their first operational commercial crew rotation missions under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) Program. The first operational flights would take place in late 2017, following the companies’ completion of NASA human spaceflight certification milestones, including crewed test flights to take place earlier in 2017.
The ground stations and equipment category is the largest part of the commercial infrastructure and support industries sector. Totaling $110.52 billion, it made up 92% of this sector in 2015.
For fiscal year (FY) 2015, NASA spent $1.52 billion on ISS systems operations and research, a decrease of $42.0 million from the $1.57 billion spent in FY 2014. ISS Crew and Cargo Transportation increased by $51.7 million from $1.40 billion in FY 2014 to $1.45 billion in FY 2015.
Aboard the 86 rockets that attempted a launch in 2015, there were 262 spacecraft, down 11% from 296 in 2014. Of the spacecraft intended for orbit in 2015, 126 were nanosatellites weighing less than 10 kilograms (22 pounds), a type of satellite whose numbers have increased in recent years.
Attempted orbital launches decreased from 92 in 2014 to 86 in 2015. Of these 86 launches, 83 successfully reached orbit. There were 22 launch attempts for commercial payloads and the other 64 were for government payloads. Eurospace, the European space industry association, estimates that the global market value for orbital launches in 2015 was $8.01 billion, essentially the same as the 2014 value of $8.10 billion.
The two 2015 inductees for the Space Foundation’s Space Technology Hall of Fame.