Space In-Orbit Refueling Market - A Global and Regional Analysis

Focus on Application, End User, Capability, and Country - Analysis and Forecast, 2022-2032

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A quick peek into the report

Market Report Coverage

Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
CAGR% (2026-2032): 103.85%

Space In-Orbit Refueling Market

Base Year

 

Market Size in 2026

$7.5 Million

Forecast Period

2022-2032

Value Projection and Estimation by 2032

$1,090.8 Million

CAGR% (2026-2032)

103.85%

Number of Tables

41

Number of Pages

147

Number of Figures

22

Note: Based on primary interviews and key developments by companies, the market for space in-orbit refueling is expected to observe scheduled commercial services by 2026.

 

Key Market Players and Competition Synopsis

The companies profiled in the study have been selected based on inputs gathered from primary experts and analysis of the companies’ product portfolios, key developments, and market penetration.

Space in-orbit refueling as a technology is still in the development and demonstration phase. However, there are several established players and startups that have entered the market and have made considerable progress. Considering the present market scenario and future forecasts, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 103.85% by 2032.

Some prominent established names in this market are:

•    Astroscale Holdings Inc.
•    Altius Space Machines, Inc.
•    D-Orbit SpA
•    Lockheed Martin Corporation
•    LMO Space
•    Maxar Technologies Inc.
•    Momentus Space
•    Orbit Fab, Inc.
•    Obruta Space Solutions
•    Orbit Recycling
•    SpaceX
•    SpaceLogistics (a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation)
•    Space Machines Company
•    Starfish Space Inc.
•    Tethers Unlimited, Inc.

How can this report add value to an organization?

The product section will help the reader understand the different solutions for the space in-orbit refueling and services market

Product/Innovation Strategy: The product section will help the reader understand the different solutions for the space in-orbit refueling and services market, such as the type of capabilities and emerging technologies. It will also help readers understand the potential of the services at a global level and learn about their progress. The players operating in these markets are developing innovative offerings and are deeply engaged in long-term agreements and contracts with commercial and government agencies. Moreover, the study also examines the investment scenario in the space in-orbit refueling and services market.

Growth/Marketing Strategy: The players operating in the space in-orbit refueling market are engaged in several strategies, including strategic partnerships, contracts, agreements, and business expansion. The marketing strategies will help the readers understand the revenue-generating strategies adopted by the in-orbit service providers operating in the space in-orbit refueling market.

For instance, Orbit Fab, Inc and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory have signed a technology-sharing agreement to share details regarding RAFTI. The company markets its products to all different layers of the military, intelligence, and commercial satellite community. The Air Force will help Orbit Fab review some of the technologies that aided in developing them. More specifically, they are going to advise on requirements and design elements, as well as provide testing and qualification access at several governmental facilities throughout the country.

In February 2022, Northrop Grumman-owned SpaceLogictics has signed a launch agreement with SpaceX and a contract with Optus for the sale of its Mission extension pod.  Under the agreement, SpaceX will be responsible for providing launch services for the 2024 MRV and MEP launches.

Competitive Strategy: The study has analyzed and profiled the key service providers, start-ups, and emerging players in the space in-orbit refueling market. These companies capture the maximum share in the global space in-orbit refueling market. Additionally, a detailed competitive benchmarking of the companies and organizations operating in the space in-orbit refueling market has been carried out, which will help the reader to understand the performance of the players, exhibiting a clear market landscape. In addition to this, comprehensive competitive strategies such as partnerships, agreements, and collaborations will aid the reader in understanding the potential revenue opportunities in the market.

Industry and Technology Overview

The market is estimated to reach $1,090.8 million by 2032 at a CAGR of 103.85% during the forecast period 2022-2032 (CAGR:2026-203

Space In-Orbit Refueling Market Overview

The global space in-orbit refueling market is estimated to reach $1,090.8 million by 2032 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 103.85% during the forecast period 2022-2032 (CAGR:2026-2032). The major factor driving the market growth is expected to be the increase in demand for sustainable and reusable space systems.

With the increasing number of satellites going into space, the demand for satellite servicing has been rising. In the future years, refueling capabilities are expected to become a need rather than an option for satellite operators. Several market players have already started demonstrations and some have been successful. Commercial players are expected to extract the maximum benefit of the space in-orbit refueling technologies.

Market Lifecycle Stage

Space in-orbit refueling has been on the wishlist of satellite operators for decades, however, even though the concepts existed, no company was able to materialize the technology. However, in the past 5 years, multiple established players and startups have entered the market and are now full-fledged working on the refueling capabilities. Massive amounts of investments are pouring into the industry and multiple collaborations are happening in order to co-develop new technologies.

Over 15 years of research and development on satellite refueling technologies have bought us to a stage where key players are performing successful demonstrations of in-orbit refueling and services in-orbit. Additionally, commercial players with large constellation sizes or heavy communication satellites are expected to adopt the market first. Following this, government agencies like NASA and ESA are also stepping forward to develop technologies and fund startups in the in-orbit refueling industry.

Figure: Global Space In-orbit Refueling Market, Value ($Million), 2026 and 2032

Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market

Source: Expert Interviews and BIS Research Analysis

Note: CAGR% (2026-2032)

Applications, such as site earth observation, communication, and navigation, are some of the areas where satellites are expected to be refueled in the coming years. Moreover, newer technologies, such as advanced docking systems, fueling ports, and artificial intelligence software are expected to support the growth of the space in-orbit refueling market over the 2022-2032 forecast period.

Market Segmentation:

Segmentation 1: by Application
•    Earth Observation
•    Communication
•    Navigation

Based on application, the space in-orbit refueling market is expected to be dominated by the communication segment owing to its technological and economic feasibility. Communication and Earth observation applications are expected to see the first initial missions for refueling.

Segmentation 2: by End-User
•    Commercial
•    Other End Users

Based on end-user, the space in-orbit refueling market is expected to be dominated by commercial end-users. Commercial end-users are expected to garner significant share and growth due to their priority requirement and economic feasibility. Commercial satellite operators with large satellite constellations and heavy communication satellites are expected to adopt the technologies faster compared to any other segment.

Segmentation 3: by Region
•    North America 
•    Europe 
•    Asia-Pacific 

During the forecast period, North America is expected to dominate the space in-orbit refueling market (by region). The significant presence of key companies engaged in developing space in-orbit refueling services is a major factor responsible for the region's growth. A higher number of collaborations between various service providers, satellite operators, and enabling technology providers is another factor driving the market growth. An increasing number of start-ups and emerging players and successful demonstrations and increasing investments by key players in the market are also contributing to the market growth.

Recent Developments in the Space In-Orbit Refueling Market

•    In January 2022, Astroscale Holdings Inc. and Orbit Fab, Inc signed a commercial agreement for refueling LEXI in the GEO orbit. LEXI is the first satellite that is designed to be refueled. As per the agreement, Orbit Fab, Inc will refuel Astroscale’s fleet of LEXI Servicers with up to 1000 kgs of Xenon Propellant.
•    To develop technologies for cryogenic propellant storage and transfer, with these awards, NASA is investing in technologies for the storage and transfer of cryogenic propellants in space. Four awards worth more than $250 million went to companies working on cryogenic fluid management.
•    To demonstrate refueling a GEO satellite, Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV-1) docked with Intelsat 901 on 25th February 2020 and pushed the satellite back to its normal orbit. Northrop Grumman’s MEVs are expected to give more than 15 years of life extension to these satellites along with providing spacecraft inspections, inclination changes, and orbit repair.
•    In April 2022, Washington’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) is planning to provide commercial refilling services in near the prime space real estate of Geosynchronous Orbit, commonly referred to as GEO. It’s also planning on creating a “bulk fuel depot” in the orbits. DIU is looking for companies with the capability for bulk liquid and gas propellant storage (>5,000 kg) in orbit. Two of the propellants include hydrazine and liquid oxygen.
•    In April 2022, Orbit Fab, Inc and Neutron Star Systems have announced a partnership for the co-development of sustainable propulsion capability and satellite refueling technologies. The agreement will help to increase the range of refuellable propellants by combining NSS propellant-agnostic electric propulsion technology with Orbit Fab's refueling interfaces and tankers.

Demand - Drivers and Limitations

Following are the drivers for the Space In-Orbit Refueling market:

•    Increase in Demand for Sustainable and Reusable Space Systems
•    Life Extension Services to Enable Other In-Orbit Services in Future

Following are the challenges for the Space In-Orbit Refueling market:

•    High Operational Cost of Refueling
•    Interface and Docking
•    Regulatory Challenges
•    Spacecraft Design Compatibility for Refueling Operations
•    Storage and Transfer of Cryogenic Propellants in Space

Following are the opportunities for the Space In-Orbit Refueling market:

•    Increase in Investments for Startups
•    Rise in Demand for In-Space Services
•    Advancement of New Space Technologies for Storage, Refueling, and Receiving Propellants

Analyst’s Perspective

According to Arun Kumar Sampathkumar, Principal Analyst, BIS Research, “The in-orbit servicing segment of the space industry has just got started with a few life-extension missions successfully achieving their objectives. While, the de-orbiting service segment is expected to be the largest in terms of quantum of demand, the refuelling and life-extension segments will remain prominent in the short term. Since the deployment of refueling-compatible hardware is yet to be deployed across missions, moving forward, with such hardware being included as part of satellite platforms, the refuelling segment will migrate from non-cooperative life-extension format to co-operative refueling format post which the market will enter a steady growth phase. The in-orbit refueling market will also be driven by the startups who are focused on establishing unique use cases to support a range of operators covering earth-orbit to deep space missions.”

Table of Contents

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1.1    Industry Outlook
         1.1.1    Space In-Orbit Services: Overview
                     1.1.1.1    Life Extension
                     1.1.1.2    De-Orbiting
                     1.1.1.3    Satellite Inspection and Repair
                     1.1.1.4    Relocation
         1.1.2    Emerging Technology Trends
                     1.1.2.1    Life Extension Vehicles
                     1.1.2.2    Orbital Propellant Transfer Vehicles
                     1.1.2.3    Bulk Fuel Depots
                     1.1.2.4    Satellite Docking Systems
         1.1.3    Ongoing and Upcoming Program
                     1.1.3.1    Lockheed Martin’s Augmentation System Port Interface (ASPIN) Program
                     1.1.3.2    Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot (SPIDER) Program
                     1.1.3.3    Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) Program
                     1.1.3.4    NASA’s Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM)
                     1.1.3.5    ESA’s Esprit Program
                     1.1.3.6    Orbital Express Space Operations Architecture Program
         1.1.4    Start-Up Landscape
         1.1.5    Patent Analysis
1.2    Business Dynamics
         1.2.1    Business Drivers
                     1.2.1.1    Increase in Demand for Sustainable and Reusable Space Systems
                     1.2.1.2    Life Extension Services to Enable Other In-Orbit Services in Future
         1.2.2    Business Challenges
                     1.2.2.1    High Operational Cost of Refueling
                     1.2.2.2    Technical Challenges
                                    1.2.2.2.1    Spacecraft Design Compatibility for Refueling Operations
                                    1.2.2.2.2    Storage and Transfer of Cryogenic Propellants in Space
                                    1.2.2.2.3    Interface and Docking
                     1.2.2.3    Regulatory Challenges
         1.2.3    Business Strategies
                     1.2.3.1.1    Market Developments
                     1.2.3.1.2    Product Developments
         1.2.4    Corporate Strategies
                     1.2.4.1.1    Contracts, Agreements, Partnerships, Collaborations, and Mergers
         1.2.5    Business Opportunities
                     1.2.5.1.1    Increase in Investments for Startups
                     1.2.5.1.2    Rise in Demand for In-Space Services
                     1.2.5.1.3    Advancement of New Space Technologies for Storage, Refueling, and Receiving Propellants

2.1    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (by Application)
         2.1.1    Market Overview
                     2.1.1.1    Demand Analysis of the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (by Application)
         2.1.2    Earth Observation
         2.1.3    Communication
         2.1.4    Navigation
2.2    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (by End User)
         2.2.1    Market Overview
         2.2.2    Commercial
                     2.2.2.1    Demand Analysis of the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (Commercial End User, by End User)
         2.2.3    Other End Users

3.1    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (by Capability)
         3.1.1    Market Overview
         3.1.2    Propellant Transfer
         3.1.3    In-Orbit Rendezvous
         3.1.4    In-Orbit Propellant Storage

4.1    North America
         4.1.1    Market
                     4.1.1.1    Key Players in North America
         4.1.2    Application
                     4.1.2.1    North America Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
         4.1.3    North America (by Country)
                     4.1.3.1    U.S.
                                   4.1.3.1.1    Market
                                                     4.1.3.1.1.1    Key Players in the U.S.
                                   4.1.3.1.2    Application
                                                     4.1.3.1.2.1    U.S. Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (Commercial End User, by End User)
                    4.1.3.2    Canada
                                   4.1.3.2.1    Market
                                                     4.1.3.2.1.1    Key Players in Canada
                                   4.1.3.2.2    Application
                                                     4.1.3.2.2.1    Canada Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (Commercial End User, by End User)
4.2    Europe
         4.2.1    Market
                     4.2.1.1    Key Players in Europe
         4.2.2    Application
                     4.2.2.1    Europe Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (Commercial End User, by End User)
         4.2.3    Europe (by Country)
                     4.2.3.1    U.K.
                                    4.2.3.1.1    Market
                                                      4.2.3.1.1.1    Key Players in the U.K.
                                    4.2.3.1.2    Application
                                                     4.2.3.1.2.1    U.K. Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (Commercial End User, by End User)
                    4.2.3.2    France
                                   4.2.3.2.1    Market
                                                     4.2.3.2.1.1    Key Players in France
                                   4.2.3.2.2    Application
                                                     4.2.3.2.2.1    France Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (Commercial End User, by End User)
                    4.2.3.3    Germany
                                   4.2.3.3.1    Market
                                                     4.2.3.3.1.1    Key Players in Germany
                    4.2.3.4    Russia
                                   4.2.3.4.1    Market
                                                     4.2.3.4.1.1    Key Players in Russia
                    4.2.3.5    Rest-of-Europe
                                   4.2.3.5.1    Market
                                                     4.2.3.5.1.1    Key Players in Rest-of-Europe
4.3    Asia-Pacific
         4.3.1    Market
                     4.3.1.1    Key Players in Asia-Pacific
         4.3.2    Asia-Pacific (by Country)
                     4.3.2.1    India
                                    4.3.2.1.1    Market
                                                      4.3.2.1.1.1    Key Players in India
                     4.3.2.2    Japan
                                    4.3.2.2.1    Market
                                                      4.3.2.2.1.1    Key Players in Japan
                     4.3.2.3    Rest-of-Asia-Pacific
                                    4.3.2.3.1    Market
                                                      4.3.2.3.1.1    Key Players in Rest-of-Asia-Pacific

5.1    Competitive Benchmarking
5.2    Company Profiles
         5.2.1    Astroscale Holdings Inc.
                     5.2.1.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.1.1.1    Role of Astroscale Holdings Inc. in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                                    5.2.1.1.2    Product Portfolio
                     5.2.1.2    Business Strategies
                                    5.2.1.2.1    Business Expansion and Investments
                     5.2.1.3    Corporate Strategies
                                    5.2.1.3.1    Partnerships, Collaborations, Agreements, and Contracts
                     5.2.1.4    Analyst View
         5.2.2    Altius Space Machines, Inc.
                     5.2.2.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.2.1.1    Role of Altius Space Machines, Inc. in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                                    5.2.2.1.2    Product Portfolio
                     5.2.2.2    Corporate Strategies
                                    5.2.2.2.1    Partnerships and Contracts
                     5.2.2.3    Analyst View
         5.2.3    D-Orbit SpA
                     5.2.3.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.3.1.1    Role of D-Orbit SpA in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                                    5.2.3.1.2    Product Portfolio
                     5.2.3.2    Business Strategies
                                    5.2.3.2.1    Business Expansion
                     5.2.3.3    Corporate Strategies
                                    5.2.3.3.1    Partnerships
                     5.2.3.4    Analyst View
         5.2.4    Lockheed Martin Corporation
                     5.2.4.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.4.1.1    Role of Lockheed Martin Corporation in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                                    5.2.4.1.2    Product Portfolio
                     5.2.4.2    Business Strategies
                                    5.2.4.2.1    Investments
                     5.2.4.3    Analyst View
         5.2.5    LMO Space
                     5.2.5.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.5.1.1    Role of LMO Space in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                                    5.2.5.1.2    Product Portfolio
                     5.2.5.2    Business Strategies
                                    5.2.5.2.1    Business Expansion
                     5.2.5.3    Corporate Strategies
                                    5.2.5.3.1    Partnerships
                     5.2.5.4    Analyst View
         5.2.6    Maxar Technologies Inc.
                     5.2.6.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.6.1.1    Role of Maxar Technologies Inc. in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                                    5.2.6.1.2    Product Portfolio
                     5.2.6.2    Business Strategies
                                    5.2.6.2.1    Business Investments
                     5.2.6.3    Corporate Strategies
                                    5.2.6.3.1    Contracts
                     5.2.6.4    Analyst View
         5.2.7    Momentus Space
                     5.2.7.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.7.1.1    Role of Momentus Space in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                                    5.2.7.1.2    Product Portfolio
                     5.2.7.2    Corporate Strategies
                                    5.2.7.2.1    Partnerships, Collaborations, Agreements, and Contracts
                     5.2.7.3    Analyst View
         5.2.8    Orbit Fab, Inc.
                     5.2.8.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.8.1.1    Role of Orbit Fab, Inc. in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                                    5.2.8.1.2    Product Portfolio
                     5.2.8.2    Business Strategies
                                    5.2.8.2.1    Investments
                     5.2.8.3    Corporate Strategies
                                    5.2.8.3.1    Partnerships, Agreements, and Contracts
                     5.2.8.4    Analyst View
         5.2.9    Obruta Space Solutions
                     5.2.9.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.9.1.1    Role of Obruta Space Solutions in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                                    5.2.9.1.2    Product Portfolio
                     5.2.9.2    Analyst View
     5.2.10    Orbit Recycling
                   5.2.10.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.10.1.1    Role of Orbit Recycling in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                   5.2.10.2    Analyst View
     5.2.11    SpaceX
                   5.2.11.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.11.1.1    Role of SpaceX in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                                    5.2.11.1.2    Product Portfolio
                   5.2.11.2    Business Strategies
                                    5.2.11.2.1    Investments
                   5.2.11.3    Analyst View
     5.2.12    SpaceLogistics (a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation)
                   5.2.12.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.12.1.1    Role of SpaceLogistics (A Subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation) in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                                    5.2.12.1.2    Product Portfolio
                   5.2.12.2    Corporate Strategies
                                    5.2.12.2.1    Partnerships, Collaborations, Agreements, and Contracts
                   5.2.12.3    Analyst View
     5.2.13    Space Machines Company
                   5.2.13.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.13.1.1    Role of Space Machines Company in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                                    5.2.13.1.2    Product Portfolio
                   5.2.13.2    Corporate Strategies
                                    5.2.13.2.1    Partnerships
                   5.2.13.3    Analyst View
     5.2.14    Starfish Space Inc.
                   5.2.14.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.14.1.1    Role of Starfish Space Inc. in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                                    5.2.14.1.2    Product Portfolio
                   5.2.14.2    Business Strategies
                                    5.2.14.2.1    Investments
                   5.2.14.3    Corporate Strategies
                                    5.2.14.3.1    Partnerships, Collaborations, Agreements, and Contracts
                   5.2.14.4    Analyst View
     5.2.15    Tethers Unlimited, Inc.
                   5.2.15.1    Company Overview
                                    5.2.15.1.1    Role of Tethers Unlimited, Inc. in the Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market
                                    5.2.15.1.2    Product Portfolio
                   5.2.15.2    Business Strategies
                                    5.2.15.2.1    Business Investments
                   5.2.15.3    Corporate Strategies
                                    5.2.15.3.1    Agreements
                   5.2.15.4    Analyst View

6.1    Space In-Orbit Refueling and Service Providers
         6.1.1    Growth Opportunity: Increasing Production of Satellites
                     6.1.1.1    Recommendations
         6.1.2    Growth Opportunity: Need for Enabling Solutions
                     6.1.2.1    Recommendations
         6.1.3    Growth Opportunity: Localized Space Situational Awareness
                     6.1.3.1    Recommendations
         6.1.4    Growth Opportunity: Additional Revenue Sources
                     6.1.4.1    Recommendations

7.1    Factors for Data Prediction and Modeling

Table 1:    Fundings, 2020-2022
Table 2:    Patent Analysis, 2012-2020
Table 3:    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (by Application), $Million, 2021-2032
Table 4:    Earth Observation Satellite Applications
Table 5:    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (by Region), Value ($Million), 2021-2032
Table 6:    Canada Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (Commercial End User, by End User), Value ($Million), 2021-2032
Table 7:    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market: Competitive Benchmarking and Weightage Parameters
Table 8:    Astroscale Holdings Inc.: Product Portfolio
Table 9:    Astroscale Holdings Inc.: Business Expansion and Investments
Table 10:    Astroscale Holdings Inc.: Partnerships, Collaborations, Agreements, and Contracts
Table 11:    Altius Space Machines, Inc.: Product Portfolio
Table 12:    Altius Space Machines, Inc.: Partnerships and Contracts
Table 13:    D-Orbit SpA: Product Portfolio
Table 14:    D-Orbit SpA: Business Expansion
Table 15:    D-Orbit SpA: Partnerships
Table 16:    Lockheed Martin Corporation: Product Portfolio
Table 17:    Lockheed Martin Corporation: Investments
Table 18:    LMO Space: Product Portfolio
Table 19:    LMO Space: Business Expansion
Table 20:    LMO Space: Partnerships
Table 21:    Maxar Technologies Inc.: Product Portfolio
Table 22:    Maxar Technologies Inc.: Business Investments
Table 23:    Maxar Technologies Inc.: Contracts
Table 24:    Momentus Space: Product Portfolio
Table 25:    Momentus Space: Partnerships, Collaborations, Agreements, and Contracts
Table 26:    Orbit Fab, Inc.: Product Portfolio
Table 27:    Orbit Fab, Inc.: Investments
Table 28:    Orbit Fab, Inc.: Partnerships, Agreements, and Contracts
Table 29:    Obruta Space Solutions: Product Portfolio
Table 30:    SpaceX: Product Portfolio
Table 31:    SpaceX:  Investments
Table 32:    SpaceLogistics (A Subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation): Product Portfolio
Table 33:    SpaceLogistics (A Subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation): Partnerships, Collaborations, Agreements, and Contracts
Table 34:    Space Machines Company: Product Portfolio
Table 35:    Space Machines Company: Partnerships
Table 36:    Starfish Space Inc.: Product Portfolio
Table 37:    Starfish Space Inc.: Investments
Table 38:    Starfish Space Inc.: Partnerships, Collaborations, Agreements, and Contracts
Table 39:    Tethers Unlimited, Inc.: Product Portfolio
Table 40:    Tethers Unlimited, Inc.: Business Investments
Table 41:    Tethers Unlimited, Inc.: Agreements

Figure 1:    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market, Volume (Number of Satellites Expected for Refueling), 2026 and 2032
Figure 2:    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market, $Million, 2026 and 2032
Figure 3:    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (by Region), $Million, 2032
Figure 4:    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market Coverage
Figure 5:    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market: Business Dynamics
Figure 6:    Share of Key Business Strategies and Developments, January 2019-June 2022
Figure 7:    Share of Product Developments, January 2019-June 2022
Figure 8:    Share of Contracts, Agreements, Partnerships, Collaborations, and Mergers, January 2019-June 2022
Figure 9:    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (by Application)
Figure 10:    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (by End User)
Figure 11:    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (Commercial End User, by End User), $Million, 2021-2032
Figure 12:    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (by Capability)
Figure 13:    North America Space In-Orbit Refueling Market, Value ($Million), 2021-2032
Figure 14:    U.S. Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (Commercial End User, by End User), Value ($Million), 2021-2032
Figure 15:    Europe Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (Commercial End User, by End User), Value ($Million), 2021-2032
Figure 16:    U.K. Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (Commercial End User, by End User), Value ($Million), 2021-2032
Figure 17:    France Space In-Orbit Refueling Market (Commercial End User, by End User), Value ($Million), 2021-2032
Figure 18:    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market: Competitive Benchmarking, 2021
Figure 19:    Research Methodology
Figure 20:    Bottom-Up Approach
Figure 21:    Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market: Influencing Factors
Figure 22:    Assumptions and Limitations

Market Report Coverage

Space In-Orbit Refueling Market

Base Year

 

Market Size in 2026

$7.5 Million

Forecast Period

2022-2032

Value Projection and Estimation by 2032

$1,090.8 Million

CAGR% (2026-2032)

103.85%

Number of Tables

41

Number of Pages

147

Number of Figures

22

Note: Based on primary interviews and key developments by companies, the market for space in-orbit refueling is expected to observe scheduled commercial services by 2026.

 

Key Market Players and Competition Synopsis

The companies profiled in the study have been selected based on inputs gathered from primary experts and analysis of the companies’ product portfolios, key developments, and market penetration.

Space in-orbit refueling as a technology is still in the development and demonstration phase. However, there are several established players and startups that have entered the market and have made considerable progress. Considering the present market scenario and future forecasts, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 103.85% by 2032.

Some prominent established names in this market are:

•    Astroscale Holdings Inc.
•    Altius Space Machines, Inc.
•    D-Orbit SpA
•    Lockheed Martin Corporation
•    LMO Space
•    Maxar Technologies Inc.
•    Momentus Space
•    Orbit Fab, Inc.
•    Obruta Space Solutions
•    Orbit Recycling
•    SpaceX
•    SpaceLogistics (a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation)
•    Space Machines Company
•    Starfish Space Inc.
•    Tethers Unlimited, Inc.

How can this report add value to an organization?

Product/Innovation Strategy: The product section will help the reader understand the different solutions for the space in-orbit refueling and services market, such as the type of capabilities and emerging technologies. It will also help readers understand the potential of the services at a global level and learn about their progress. The players operating in these markets are developing innovative offerings and are deeply engaged in long-term agreements and contracts with commercial and government agencies. Moreover, the study also examines the investment scenario in the space in-orbit refueling and services market.

Growth/Marketing Strategy: The players operating in the space in-orbit refueling market are engaged in several strategies, including strategic partnerships, contracts, agreements, and business expansion. The marketing strategies will help the readers understand the revenue-generating strategies adopted by the in-orbit service providers operating in the space in-orbit refueling market.

For instance, Orbit Fab, Inc and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory have signed a technology-sharing agreement to share details regarding RAFTI. The company markets its products to all different layers of the military, intelligence, and commercial satellite community. The Air Force will help Orbit Fab review some of the technologies that aided in developing them. More specifically, they are going to advise on requirements and design elements, as well as provide testing and qualification access at several governmental facilities throughout the country.

In February 2022, Northrop Grumman-owned SpaceLogictics has signed a launch agreement with SpaceX and a contract with Optus for the sale of its Mission extension pod.  Under the agreement, SpaceX will be responsible for providing launch services for the 2024 MRV and MEP launches.

Competitive Strategy: The study has analyzed and profiled the key service providers, start-ups, and emerging players in the space in-orbit refueling market. These companies capture the maximum share in the global space in-orbit refueling market. Additionally, a detailed competitive benchmarking of the companies and organizations operating in the space in-orbit refueling market has been carried out, which will help the reader to understand the performance of the players, exhibiting a clear market landscape. In addition to this, comprehensive competitive strategies such as partnerships, agreements, and collaborations will aid the reader in understanding the potential revenue opportunities in the market.

Industry and Technology Overview

Space In-Orbit Refueling Market Overview

The global space in-orbit refueling market is estimated to reach $1,090.8 million by 2032 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 103.85% during the forecast period 2022-2032 (CAGR:2026-2032). The major factor driving the market growth is expected to be the increase in demand for sustainable and reusable space systems.

With the increasing number of satellites going into space, the demand for satellite servicing has been rising. In the future years, refueling capabilities are expected to become a need rather than an option for satellite operators. Several market players have already started demonstrations and some have been successful. Commercial players are expected to extract the maximum benefit of the space in-orbit refueling technologies.

Market Lifecycle Stage

Space in-orbit refueling has been on the wishlist of satellite operators for decades, however, even though the concepts existed, no company was able to materialize the technology. However, in the past 5 years, multiple established players and startups have entered the market and are now full-fledged working on the refueling capabilities. Massive amounts of investments are pouring into the industry and multiple collaborations are happening in order to co-develop new technologies.

Over 15 years of research and development on satellite refueling technologies have bought us to a stage where key players are performing successful demonstrations of in-orbit refueling and services in-orbit. Additionally, commercial players with large constellation sizes or heavy communication satellites are expected to adopt the market first. Following this, government agencies like NASA and ESA are also stepping forward to develop technologies and fund startups in the in-orbit refueling industry.

Figure: Global Space In-orbit Refueling Market, Value ($Million), 2026 and 2032

Global Space In-Orbit Refueling Market

Source: Expert Interviews and BIS Research Analysis

Note: CAGR% (2026-2032)

Applications, such as site earth observation, communication, and navigation, are some of the areas where satellites are expected to be refueled in the coming years. Moreover, newer technologies, such as advanced docking systems, fueling ports, and artificial intelligence software are expected to support the growth of the space in-orbit refueling market over the 2022-2032 forecast period.

Market Segmentation:

Segmentation 1: by Application
•    Earth Observation
•    Communication
•    Navigation

Based on application, the space in-orbit refueling market is expected to be dominated by the communication segment owing to its technological and economic feasibility. Communication and Earth observation applications are expected to see the first initial missions for refueling.

Segmentation 2: by End-User
•    Commercial
•    Other End Users

Based on end-user, the space in-orbit refueling market is expected to be dominated by commercial end-users. Commercial end-users are expected to garner significant share and growth due to their priority requirement and economic feasibility. Commercial satellite operators with large satellite constellations and heavy communication satellites are expected to adopt the technologies faster compared to any other segment.

Segmentation 3: by Region
•    North America 
•    Europe 
•    Asia-Pacific 

During the forecast period, North America is expected to dominate the space in-orbit refueling market (by region). The significant presence of key companies engaged in developing space in-orbit refueling services is a major factor responsible for the region's growth. A higher number of collaborations between various service providers, satellite operators, and enabling technology providers is another factor driving the market growth. An increasing number of start-ups and emerging players and successful demonstrations and increasing investments by key players in the market are also contributing to the market growth.

Recent Developments in the Space In-Orbit Refueling Market

•    In January 2022, Astroscale Holdings Inc. and Orbit Fab, Inc signed a commercial agreement for refueling LEXI in the GEO orbit. LEXI is the first satellite that is designed to be refueled. As per the agreement, Orbit Fab, Inc will refuel Astroscale’s fleet of LEXI Servicers with up to 1000 kgs of Xenon Propellant.
•    To develop technologies for cryogenic propellant storage and transfer, with these awards, NASA is investing in technologies for the storage and transfer of cryogenic propellants in space. Four awards worth more than $250 million went to companies working on cryogenic fluid management.
•    To demonstrate refueling a GEO satellite, Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV-1) docked with Intelsat 901 on 25th February 2020 and pushed the satellite back to its normal orbit. Northrop Grumman’s MEVs are expected to give more than 15 years of life extension to these satellites along with providing spacecraft inspections, inclination changes, and orbit repair.
•    In April 2022, Washington’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) is planning to provide commercial refilling services in near the prime space real estate of Geosynchronous Orbit, commonly referred to as GEO. It’s also planning on creating a “bulk fuel depot” in the orbits. DIU is looking for companies with the capability for bulk liquid and gas propellant storage (>5,000 kg) in orbit. Two of the propellants include hydrazine and liquid oxygen.
•    In April 2022, Orbit Fab, Inc and Neutron Star Systems have announced a partnership for the co-development of sustainable propulsion capability and satellite refueling technologies. The agreement will help to increase the range of refuellable propellants by combining NSS propellant-agnostic electric propulsion technology with Orbit Fab's refueling interfaces and tankers.

Demand - Drivers and Limitations

Following are the drivers for the Space In-Orbit Refueling market:

•    Increase in Demand for Sustainable and Reusable Space Systems
•    Life Extension Services to Enable Other In-Orbit Services in Future

Following are the challenges for the Space In-Orbit Refueling market:

•    High Operational Cost of Refueling
•    Interface and Docking
•    Regulatory Challenges
•    Spacecraft Design Compatibility for Refueling Operations
•    Storage and Transfer of Cryogenic Propellants in Space

Following are the opportunities for the Space In-Orbit Refueling market:

•    Increase in Investments for Startups
•    Rise in Demand for In-Space Services
•    Advancement of New Space Technologies for Storage, Refueling, and Receiving Propellants

Analyst’s Perspective

According to Arun Kumar Sampathkumar, Principal Analyst, BIS Research, “The in-orbit servicing segment of the space industry has just got started with a few life-extension missions successfully achieving their objectives. While, the de-orbiting service segment is expected to be the largest in terms of quantum of demand, the refuelling and life-extension segments will remain prominent in the short term. Since the deployment of refueling-compatible hardware is yet to be deployed across missions, moving forward, with such hardware being included as part of satellite platforms, the refuelling segment will migrate from non-cooperative life-extension format to co-operative refueling format post which the market will enter a steady growth phase. The in-orbit refueling market will also be driven by the startups who are focused on establishing unique use cases to support a range of operators covering earth-orbit to deep space missions.”

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