Satellite operators and government space research agencies are increasingly dependent on a single company that has become a de facto monopoly in the space launch market. We are talking about the American aerospace company SpaceX Elon Musk (Elon Musk), whose rockets are more efficient than competitors, and services are cheaper, writes The Wall Street Journal.
According to astrophysicist John Holst, who monitors launches, SpaceX rockets provided 66% of all launches for various companies and organizations from US launch sites in 2022 and 88% in the first six months of this year.
This dominance will continue, the newspaper noted, as events in Ukraine have made Russian Soyuz launches unavailable to many Western companies, and SpaceX competitors such as Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and French Arianespace have so far failed to achieve much success and set up regular launches. In addition, some SpaceX competitors are gradually phasing out their existing rockets, but new generation solutions are just being put into operation and are not yet ready for mass launches. In June, United Launch Alliance launched its penultimate Delta IV Heavy rocket with a satellite on board, and on July 5, the last launch of Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket took place.
“The fact is that competitors now have nothing to offer, and this makes SpaceX a de facto monopoly,” said John Holst, a former member of the Air Force space operations.
SpaceX is also the only company to fly NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. A few years ago, SpaceX launched into space in the interests of US national security, ending the United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) de facto monopoly in the space.
According to Deutsche Bank, the global rocket launch market was estimated at about $8 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow to $13 billion by 2025. We also add that SpaceX may strengthen its position, since it has already entered the test launches of a huge reusable the Starship spacecraft, designed for both large-scale orbital missions and manned flights to deep space, including Mars.
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