Discover how to get space suppliers from around the world to send you the information you need to develop your mission or service, with the free satsearch tender system.
This article was originally published in satsearch’s Space Industry Insights LinkedIn newsletter at this link.
As 2023 really gets underway, stakeholders from across the global space industry are facing a variety of major challenges and opportunities.
We’ve seen launch failures by Virgin Orbit, ABL Systems, and Arianspace just in the last few weeks for example, while NASA also sounded the alarm recently on future mission funding.
At the same time, rapidly increasing commercial investment and attention on climate change, space debris, and even exploration targets, such as the Moon, are bringing new opportunities to different companies across the globe.
These are combined with major shifts in the global economy (e.g. the rampant rise in demand for mobile connectivity services) and industry behaviors, with the maturing of innovations such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices leading to further increases in satellite demand.
All of this, and more, is taking place in an industry still utilizing legacy operations and business models, affected by extensive regulatory compliance, and heavily influenced by both politics and the actions of a small number of public sector bodies.
In this rapidly evolving and complex business environment, efficient procurement is emerging as one of the core capabilities of forward-looking companies.
Here’s how satsearch is turning this capability into a superpower.
Procurement challenges in the modern space industry
Building a reliable, cost-effective, and efficient supply chain for space missions and services is no easy task.
Whether you’re operating at the component, subsystem, or system level, it is getting harder to define, identify, assess, negotiate, and acquire the right product or service for your needs.
But as the industry gets more competitive, it is also becoming increasingly important that you do so quicker and more cost-effectively than ever.
Here are some of the key challenges and bottlenecks that companies are facing in space procurement today:
- High costs and long, often interdependent, lead times,
- Stringent safety, reliability, and compliance requirements, such as the need to comply with international regulations and export controls,
- Requirements for highly specialized materials and manufacturing processes,
- A limited number of qualified suppliers and contractors, particularly if regulations limit the profiles of 2nd or even 3rd tier suppliers who can be used,
- Managing and coordinating the efforts of multiple organizations and agencies, both upstream and downstream,
- The need to design and develop long-lived systems, which may need to operate for years or even decades in the harsh environment of space,
- Working with partners and suppliers in different countries and cultural contexts, with different commercial compliance regimes, and
- Dealing with various uncertainties in the space operating environment, such as changes in government funding and policy, technical risks, and schedule delays.
As you can see, the scale of these issues is significant – this is rocket science after all.
But the potential rewards on offer for companies that get this right are also very attractive.
The opportunity on offer
Many professional analysts believe that the space industry is on course to become a trillion dollar industry in less than 20 years.
This growth will come from hundreds of millions of new users across the world consuming satellite broadband, GPS and other positioning services, Earth Observation (EO) and remote sensing data, emergency response information, and other forms of satellite-based resources.
We’re also seeing emerging applications in space domain awareness, in-space servicing and manufacturing, private space station development, microgravity research, lunar applications, and more.
By streamlining procurement processes and reducing inefficiencies, the costs of developing space systems to take advantage of these opportunities can be significantly reduced, making space exploration and utilization more affordable. This will enable:
- Faster development and launch times, enabling more frequent and ambitious space missions.
- Increased reliability and safety, reducing the risks of failure and associated insurance and contingency costs.
- Greater innovation and collaboration, leading to the development of new technologies and capabilities around the world.
- Better alignment with international regulations and export controls, allowing the space industry to operate more smoothly and with fewer disruptions.
- Improving long-term performance, reducing the need for costly repairs and replacements, and generating valuable data for longer.
Only by ironing out such issues can all areas of the industry really act like a true market and achieve greater penetration into other sectors and service areas.
Better procurement will also enable the commercial activity and interest needed to achieve the most ambitious space-related goals to be achieved.
How satsearch is improving space procurement
Since our launch back in 2016 we have helped hundreds of teams identify and acquire the best products and services on the market for their specific needs.
In just the last 18 months we’ve handled more than $600 million worth of procurement involving buyers and suppliers in over 100 countries.
We’ve now put all of that knowledge and experience together in a single, simplified procurement system designed to help potential buyers find what they need as quickly and easily as possible – and for free!
You can take advantage of this simply by sharing your requirements with us on our open tender tool here. We’ll use this information to get you responses from qualified suppliers across the global marketplace, potentially finding products, services, companies, and operating models you didn’t even know existed, let alone were commercially available.
You’ll be under no obligation to procure from, or even respond to, any of the suppliers we contact on your behalf, and you can also refine your needs based on the responses you get from the market to better plan out your mission requirements.
Please feel free to share all relevant information with us – the more specific and detailed your technical requirements, the better the results we can usually achieve – but also do simply get in touch if you would like to discuss the potential options for your mission at a higher level.
We’ve built deep expertise and extensive networks of global suppliers over the years, and we’re happy to support any engineer, team, or company with their space industry procurement.
If you need anything related to the space industry, satsearch can help you find it – click here to take the next step.