How many satellites are enough?

How many satellites are enough?

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The satellite industry has experienced many profound changes over the last decade: the expansion of the Direct-To-Home television market, the rise and fall of the low Earth orbit telecommunications systems, and the development of the Internet as a source of demand, to name just a few. Throughout all these changes, the heart of the industry has been the satellite itself. All the industry sectors (satellite services, launch services, ground equipment, and satellite manufacturing) are critical for the industry to maintain its viability and competitiveness.

However, the satellite is the lifeblood of the industry, and the number of satellite orders has become a key metric in determining the health and future prospects of the industry. For these reasons, Futron spends a significant amount of resources tracking and forecasting the demand for satellites.

Every year since 1996, Futron has performed a forecast of demand for satellite services, i.e., bandwidth. Occasionally, depending on the requirements of our customers, Futron translates the demand for services into demand for actual satellites and launches. However, accuracy is a legitimate concern for any forecaster. Thus, Futron went back to year 2000 satellite forecast and compared it to actual numbers of satellites launched. The results are displayed below, showing that the average number of satellites forecast by Futron was within 7% of the actual number launched.