Amid the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, some space companies stand to reap benefits.
Of space economy companies surveyed by Northern Sky Research (NSR) late last month, 18% said they expect a positive impact on their business over the next 12 months, while 54% said they expect a negative impact.
Among the “several hundred” respondents to the survey, satellite launchers and Earth observation providers had particularly strong reactions — either positive or negative, Brad Grady, NSR president and chief operating officer told Connectivity Business News.
Space companies — particularly those in Earth observation and launch — have been providing regular updates on the war. Satellite communications provider OneWeb, for one, has refused to accede to Russian demands, saying in a statement that the company “has suspended the remaining six upcoming launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome.”
A few Earth observation companies have even launched purpose-built products. For example, Earth imaging company Satellogic (NASDAQ: SATL), which de-SPACed in January, partnered with analytics provider Astraea to deliver Ukraine Observer, offering free imaging and tools to qualifying entities such as aid organizations.
While the full impact of the war and of sanctions is not yet clear, Grady noted there are already concerns about noble gas production, the chip market and possible effects on the production of flat panel antennas.
“Ukraine is the world’s largest supplier of noble gases including neon, krypton and xenon,” Gabrielle Athanasia, program coordinator and research assistant at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), noted in a blog post last month. “Globally, Ukraine supplies about 70% of the world’s neon gas and 40% of the global krypton supply. Moreover, Ukraine supplies 90% of the highly purified, semiconductor-grade neon for chip production used by U.S. industry.”
As for the launch sector, today saw a series of announcements by launchers in the U.S., France and Australia — all of which utilize new or existing non-Russian launchers.