Low Earth orbit constellations take off amid global economic slump
Sep 25, 2020 by Toby Youell

Blog

In times of economic uncertainty, investors tend to park their money in safe-haven assets such as rare minerals, government bonds and US dollars. The conventional wisdom suggests that risky projects that rely on cutting-edge technologies and unproven business models—like low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites—may struggle to find capital.

Yet the updated PolicyTracker LEO satellite tracker found that excitement is continuing about the new generation of satellite constellations. The pace of development reminds one analyst of the 1999—2000 tech bubble.

Why? Part of the answer appears to be strong backing from some of the world’s wealthiest individuals, including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. The endorsement of these tech titans has helped to persuade other investors to back the technology. The UK government, for example, invested $500 million in bankrupt satellite operator OneWeb.

The question for investors, including UK taxpayers, is whether the new space race is a gold rush or just Teledesic all over again.

The LEO Tracker is included in PolicyTracker’s Mobile/Satellite Relationship Dossier, which also includes a new article on integrating satellite within plans for 6G. The dossiers are part of our Spectrum Research Service.•