Launch Vehicle Market Still Held by Major Powers, but New Contenders Emerge

by Bill Ostrove, Forecast International.

Launches by Manufacturer Country
Launches by Manufacturer Country

The launch vehicle market continues to be dominated by a few select regions. Between 2011 and 2013, Russia, China, the United States, and Europe accounted for nearly 92 percent of all launch vehicles manufactured. Russia by far accounted for the largest proportion of launch vehicles built during the period, with 41.5 percent. Russia was followed by China with 21.6 percent, the U.S. with 20.8 percent, and Europe with 7.9 percent.

But even as the traditional players hold onto their market domination, there are countries attempting to build their own launch vehicle programs and become market competitors. The most successful of these new players are India and Japan. Each country conducted eight launches over the past three years. India’s primary workhorse is the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). New Delhi is also developing a larger Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). Japan, meanwhile, operates its H-II launch vehicle, and is developing a smaller vehicle called the Epsilon.

Iran, North Korea, and South Korea have also conducted launches, although they remain minor players at best.

Going forward, Forecast International expects Russia, China, the U.S., and Europe to continue to dominate the launch vehicle market. The U.S.’s share of the market will likely increase as new commercial ventures step up their launch tempos in the years ahead. And, as their launch programs become more established, Japan and India are also expected to grow their share of the market.

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