June 2, 2016 / 10:27 PM / a year ago

Satellite industry revenue tops $208 billion in 2015: trade group

2 Min Read

The smoke trail from the launch of the space shuttle Discovery STS-131 is illuminated by the rising sun at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida April 5, 2010.Scott Audette

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Global revenue from the satellite industry reached $208 billion in 2015, a 3 percent increase over 2014, a trade association report released on Thursday showed.

U.S. companies accounted for 43 percent of the revenue, the Satellite Industry Association said in its annual report. Globally, 2015 revenues for the satellite industry totaled just over $208 billion, up from about $203 billion in 2014.

Industry growth was led by the satellite services segment, with satellite broadband and Earth observation revenues each up by more than 10 percent, the report showed.

Overall, satellite services revenues increased 4 percent to $127.4 billion.

Satellite manufacturing revenues, which include the value of satellites launched in 2015, also grew by 4 percent to $16.6 billion. U.S. manufacturers won 11 of 17 orders worldwide for commercial communications satellites.

Launch industry revenues declined 9 percent in 2015 due to fewer commercially procured flights, the report stated.

Among the most dramatic changes in the industry is the increase in the number of satellites orbiting Earth. By the end of 2015, there were 1,381 operational satellites circling the planet compared to 1,261 in 2014 and 986 in 2011 – a 40 percent increase in four years.

Most of the growth is due to the popularity of shoebox-sized CubeSats, which can be outfitted with different sensors for a wide variety of research and commercial missions.

The Satellite Industry Association's report was prepared by the Tauri Group, a Washington-based space and defense consultancy.

Reporting by Irene Klotz; Editing by Tom Brown

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