News & Analysis

LEO satellites drive innovation, says GlobalData

30th May 2024
Caitlin Gittins
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Elon Musk's SpaceX recently introduced satellite Starlink Internet services in Indonesia, marking a significant advancement for global connectivity and investment prospects.

This underscores the importance of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites in strengthening worldwide communication and fostering economic growth. Collaborations on an international scale aimed at strengthening low-latency data relay services leverage combined expertise and resources, creating an environment conducive to economic progress and sustainable development, according to findings from GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Kiran Raj, Practice Head of Disruptive Tech t GlobalData, said: “By bridging the digital divide and enabling advanced real-time data applications, LEO satellites are becoming essential infrastructure. This transformation fosters collaborative innovation and strengthens economic resilience across industries such as aerospace and defense, telecom, agriculture, and oil and gas. Integrating LEO networks into these industries enhances efficiency and productivity.”

GlobalData's FutureTech Series report, titled "Internet from Sky: Can LEO Satellites Transform the Future of Connectivity? (Vol. 2)," highlights how strategic partnerships and technological advancements are propelling the deployment of LEO satellite networks.

In March 2024, US-based companies Viasat and Rocket Lab collaborated to demonstrate on-demand, low-latency data relay services for LEO satellites.

During the same month, US-based Telesat and ThinKom Solutions expanded their collaborative efforts to certify ThinKom's ThinAir Ka2517 antenna for the Telesat Lightspeed LEO satellite network, enabling effective real-time data applications.

In January 2024, US-based John Deere selected SpaceX's Starlink LEO satellite network to complement LTE coverage and enhance efficiency for farmers utilising its connected and autonomous farm machinery.

In June 2023, US-based Momentum partnered with France-based Eutelsat and UK-based OneWeb to provide LEO satellite communications services for the oil and gas industry.

“While the investment and economic prospects for LEO satellites are promising, the industry must address several challenges, including space debris management, frequency interference, and regulatory compliance. The ongoing collaborations to merge satellite fleets are steps towards tackling these issues, ensuring more efficient use of orbital space and improved service reliability. Strategic partnerships play a crucial role in overcoming these challenges, ensuring sustainable growth and the successful deployment of LEO satellite networks. As we move forward, it is imperative to continue fostering partnerships that drive innovation and economic development while safeguarding the orbital environment," concluded Raj.

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