Advanced Space Composites: Market Analysis and Forecast

03 Oct 2023

Composites have become essential in space applications, such as space exploration, satellite launches, payloads, and construction of launch vehicles. Space habitat construction and interplanetary exploration also see the integration of advanced composites to design and fabricate durable systems for extended missions in lunar and interplanetary scope. 

These materials provide protection against radiation, micrometeoroid impacts, and temperature fluctuations while allowing for modular construction and adaptability to different planetary environments.

This article covers a comprehensive overview of the advanced space composites market, the BIS Research report offering, and key takeaways. 

Types and Characteristics of Advanced Space Composites 

One of the most commonly used advanced materials for space applications is carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP). This advanced space composite is made of carbon fibers and polymer resin. It is replacing traditional materials such as aluminum in the manufacturing process. Carbon fiber-reinforced polymer has enabled manufacturers to reduce weight and increase fuel efficiency. It is primarily used in space components such as aircraft fuselages, wings, and tail sections. 

Along with carbon fiber-reinforced polymer, other advanced materials for space applications are: 

Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer (FRP)

It is an advanced space composite with similar characteristics as carbon fiber-reinforced polymer. The cost associated with fiberglass-reinforced polymer is less than carbon fiber-reinforced polymer.

Aramid Fiber Reinforced Polymer (AFRP)

It is one of the advanced space materials made up of aramid fibers and a polymer resin. It exhibits high strength and is lightweight. It is often used in ballistic protection and high-performance applications.

Hybrid Composites

These advanced space composites are made up of two or more different types of fibers, making them a super material. These hybrid composites exhibit superior performance characteristics. For example, carbon fibers and aramid fibers may form a hybrid composite. In this hybrid composite, the strength of carbon fibers is combined with the impact resistance of aramid fibers.

Applications of Advanced Space Composites

Advanced space composites such as carbon fiber have proven beneficial when used in spacecrafts where mission requires lightweight structures and resilience in challenging environments. For instance, solid rocket motors and pressure vessels, which are used for fuel and gas storage, are usually reinforced with advanced composites such as carbon fiber reinforced composite. Composites have become a requirement for ablative and other high-temperature components in rocket motor nozzles and re-entry heat shields.

Advanced composites offer several advantages, such as cost-effectiveness, ease of manufacturing, and high strength-to-weight ratio. They have diverse properties similar to thermal insulation and ablation capabilities. High-modulus carbon fiber laminates find significant application in various spacecraft components, ranging from thermal protection systems in crew capsules to satellite bus structures and spacecraft support systems. 

Moreover, these advanced space composites help maintain extreme dimensional stability over extreme temperatures when the spacecraft is in space. Apart from this, radio frequency (RF) reflectors and solar array substrates also use high-modulus carbon fiber laminates to achieve stiffness and dimensional stability.

Rising Demand for Advanced Space Composites 


As the aerospace industry strives for lightweight and high-strength materials for space missions, the need for advanced space missions is escalating. The emergence of technologies such as reusable launch vehicles, on-orbit manufacturing, and autonomous space stations has raised the demand for advanced space composites.

Moreover, the increasing frequency of satellite launches and deep space missions are also driving the need for advanced space composites. According to BIS Research, the global satellite launch forecast estimates that 45,131 satellites will be launched within the 2022-2032 timeline, which translates to an average of 3,760 satellites annually.

Satellite structures and components represent a critical sector where composites play a pivotal role in constructing lightweight yet robust frameworks that withstand the rigors of launch, vacuum conditions, and thermal extremes. These advanced space materials enable the development of larger and more complex satellites, accommodating advanced payloads and expanding communication, Earth observation, and scientific capabilities.

Moreover, Satcom original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are incorporating radiation-hardened electronics in satellite communications, which creates a necessity for advanced composites. Manufacturers are also using advanced 3D printing technology and composites to gain a competitive edge in the space product manufacturing segment. 

Companies active in the advanced space composites market are deeply involved in research and development, striving to develop innovative technologies that can enhance space systems. Notable players in this sector include Airborne, Beyond Gravity, Hexcel Corporation, and more, collaborating with governmental and military entities to deliver their expertise.

With progress at the current pace, BIS Research forecasts the global advanced space composites market to reach $4.61 billion in 2033 from $1.47 billion in 2023, at a growth rate of 12.11% during the forecast period, 2023-2033. 

Click here to download a FREE sample

Market Scenario- Drivers, Challenges, and Opportunities

Drivers: The growing global trend of satellite launches and deep space missions is driving the requirements for advanced space composites. Companies specializing in advanced composites, composite manufacturing processes, material development, and structural design are delivering solutions specific to the needs of the missions.

Challenges: The production, development, and implementation of advanced space composites are prohibitively expensive. Additionally, specialized manufacturing techniques, such as filament winding, autoclave curing, or additive manufacturing with high-performance polymers or carbon fibers, are also expensive. These techniques involve complex machinery, precise control of environmental conditions, and skilled labor, all of which contribute to elevated production costs. Moreover, the quality control and testing requirements also increase expenses.

Opportunities: Additive manufacturing is emerging as a solution for the complex manufacturing of advanced space composites. It enables the fabrication of internal features and graded material compositions, which are difficult to achieve using traditional techniques. Moreover, the development of hetero-material and differential method printing capabilities has expanded the design possibilities and performance of composite materials for space applications. Using novel feedstock materials such as continuous fibers, nanoparticles, and functional fillers enhances the mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties of printed composites. 

Key Takeaways from the Report

Detailed Market Segmentation

The segmentation of the global advanced space composites market is based on platform, component, material, manufacturing process, and service. The various market segmentation can help organizations track product performance, emerging technologies, and regional responses to the products manufactured.

Launch Vehicles to Dominate as the Leading Platform Segment

The platform segment includes satellites, launch vehicles, and deep space probes and rovers. Based on the platform segment, the advanced space composites market is led by the launch vehicles segment, with a 40.25% share in 2023. Launch vehicle manufacturers are now focusing on designing and developing smaller, less complex, reusable, and cost-efficient launch vehicles, which are facilitated by the growth of small satellites. 

Structures Segment to Dominate the Component Segment

By components, the advanced space composites market is segmented into nine sub-segments, such as payloads, structures, antennae, solar array panels, propellant tanks, spacecraft module, sunshade door, thermal protection, and thrusters. The structures segment is expected to dominate the market during the forecast period from 2023 to 2033. The factor contributing to this growth is the increased focus of space companies to develop reusable launch vehicles as well as small launch vehicles (SLVs).

Carbon Fiber Segment to Lead the Global Advanced Space Composites Market (by Material)

Space composites include advanced materials such as carbon fiber, glass fiber, thermosets, and nanomaterials. The advanced space composites market’s material segment is led by carbon fiber, with a 31.1% share in 2023. Recent advancements in carbon fiber manufacturing techniques have enhanced its flexibility, resulting in the introduction of novel carbon fiber types with improved modulus and strength tailored for space system applications.

Regional Analysis 

The global advanced space composites report analyzes the regions mentioned below: 
•    North America
•    Europe
•    Asia-Pacific
•    Rest-of-the-World

Europe is the highest-growing market among all the regions, registering a CAGR of 13.09%. European countries are known for their expertise in space research and development, with multiple renowned space agencies, primarily the European Space Agency (ESA), playing a pivotal role in space exploration and technology development. These agencies collaborate with industry-leading companies, research institutions, and universities to drive innovation and push the boundaries of advanced space composites’ performance. 

Moreover, the European Space Agency (ESA) introduced the SpaceCarbon project under the Horizon 2020 Program. This project’s objective is to develop Europe-based carbon fibers (CF) and pre-impregnated materials for launchers and satellite applications.

Growth Strategies

The advanced space composites market report offers effective growth strategies. Key players in the advanced space composites market have been analyzed and profiled in the study, including the key technology segmentations and services that each company offers.

Moreover, a detailed competitive benchmarking of the players operating in the advanced space composites market has been done to help the reader understand how players stack against each other, presenting a clear market landscape. Comprehensive competitive strategies such as partnerships, agreements, and collaborations will aid the reader in understanding the revenue pockets in the market.

The favored strategy for the collaboration between government space agencies and private players is primarily contracting the development and delivery of advanced materials and specialized composite components for space system applications. For instance, in June 2023, ESA contracted with Beyond Gravity to fabricate and deliver the payload fairing for the Ariane 6 launch vehicle in two configurations.


Nilopal Ojha, Principal Analyst, BIS Research, states, “The growing number of space assets, particularly launching small satellites for satellite constellations and increasing use of reusable launch vehicles, has increased the demand for space composites. The need for composites for manufacturing lightweight and durable satellite and launch vehicle components is expected to propel the advanced space composites market during the forecast period.”

Interested to know more about the growing technologies in your industry vertical? Get the latest market studies and insights from BIS Research. Connect with us at [email protected] to learn and understand more.