27 May 2016. Until recently the spacecraft manufacturers of Europe and the U.S. have been fairly shielded from competition from low cost manufacturers. As the barriers to entry for new competitors continue to recede through the global levelling of technological capability, European manufacturers might find that their share of the one-to-two dozen commercial satellite contracts available each year will dwindle unless they can form new and forward-looking approaches to remain competitive.

 This report assesses the future of European commercial spacecraft manufacturing of satellites that are bought through open competition in situations where European bidders are faced with non-European competition. After giving an overview of the global satellite manufacturing landscape, it uses the Porter Five Forces Model for competitive advantage to assess the competing forces and how governments impact these forces, which helps to identify the strengths and weaknesses of European competitors. The report then looks to the strategic value of having a European commercial satellite manufacturing sector, and outlines the risks and opportunities associated with building alliances with European, U.S., or Asian competitors and outsourcing/offshoring non-essential technologies to low-cost manufacturers in Central and Eastern Europe and Asia. The report then groups those strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats together in a SWOT analysis matrix, and compares the trade-offs in choosing one or several alliance and outsourcing/offshoring roadmaps to remain competitive in the future, before ending with a conclusion and a set of recommendations.

This study aims to inform and provide recommendations to decision makers and actors within the European space sector, but is also meant to engage all persons interested in the industrial aspects of space.

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