Access Alert: Orbiting innovation – key satellite industry trends unveiled at SATELLITE 2024

Access Alert: Orbiting innovation – key satellite industry trends unveiled at SATELLITE 2024

The SATELLITE 2024 conference in Washington, DC, took place between 18-21 March 2024. The event brought together close to 15,000 attendees from the space, satellite, telecommunications, and connectivity communities, including various government agencies and regulators. It provided an opportunity to delve into the satellite industry’s latest developments, challenges, and trends.

The conference highlighted the satellite industry’s dynamic nature and crucial role in the broader context of global connectivity, offering valuable insights into the evolving landscape and the emerging synergies between satellite technologies and other connectivity solutions. In this article, we share our perspectives and key takeaways from SATELLITE 2024, as well as emerging trends in the market.

Key themes and discussions

  • Hybrid Networks and Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN): The integration of terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks was a significant focus, underlining the move towards hybrid networks that promise enhanced global connectivity and resilience. This theme accentuates the satellite industry’s role in the broader connectivity ecosystem, contributing to a seamless global communication infrastructure.
  • Cybersecurity in Space: The conference underscored the importance of robust cybersecurity measures for satellite networks, focusing on the convergence of IT and OT security and the necessity of securing the space supply chain against sophisticated threats.
  • Innovation Driving Market Disruption: Industrialisation, modular design, and standardisation were showcased as potential disruptors to traditional vertical integration models, indicating a future where space solutions are more accessible, scalable, and conducive to innovation.
  • Satellites in Crisis and Disaster Management: The critical role of satellites in crisis response was a key area of discussion, with several government agencies emphasising the value of earth observation data in tackling crises and natural disasters.
  • Evolving Business Models: Discussions around ‘Antennas as a Service’, Ground Stations as a Service, and subsidising terminals pointed to a shift towards business models that aim to democratise access to satellite services. Additionally, a large emphasis was placed on public-private partnerships, particularly to provide connectivity in underserved areas.
  • Adoption of Emerging Technologies: The industry’s readiness to embrace emerging technologies, such as the LoRaWAN protocol, was highlighted, reflecting a commitment to enhancing connectivity solutions and operational efficiencies.

Emerging market trends

Markets are shifting as technology advances and the space economy grows:

  • Increased Focus on Resilience and Security: Discussions emphasised the growing importance of developing robust security measures to protect critical satellite infrastructure.
  • Collaboration between Public and Private Sectors: The conference underscored the significance of collaboration, particularly in areas like cybersecurity and crisis management, indicating a trend towards integrated satellite technology efforts.
  • Standardisation and Modularisation: There’s a movement towards making space technology more modular and scalable, which facilitates access and fosters sector-wide innovation.
  • Adoption of New Technologies and Protocols: Interest in new technologies and business models, like LoRaWAN and ‘Antennas as a Service’, indicates a trend towards enhancing connectivity and service delivery.

Integration with connectivity ecosystems

A standout trend from the conference was the closer integration of the satellite sector with the broader connectivity ecosystems, especially in the context of 5G expansion, direct-to-device services, and global internet coverage. This convergence is important for extending 5G to remote areas, enabling direct satellite communication with devices, and leveraging satellite constellations for comprehensive internet access.


A key trend from the conference was the industry’s intensified commitment to sustainability, particularly in addressing orbital debris. The focus was on developing longer-lasting, reusable satellites and stricter end-of-mission disposal strategies, spurred by the FCC’s proposal to shorten the disposal period for LEO satellites from 25 years to five. This reflects a broader move towards sustainable space practices and adapting to evolving regulations to protect the orbital environment.

Emerging technologies and future frontiers

Some emerging technologies that were shown in the exhibition area and discussed included:

  • 6G, AI, and IoT: The discussions extended to the frontiers of 6G and AI, emphasising their potential to revolutionise satellite communications. A particular focus was also on the integration of IoT, where satellite technology can play a role in enabling global IoT connectivity, supporting applications from agriculture to smart cities.
  • Lunar Satellite Communications: The exploration of lunar communications underscored the industry’s ambition to extend satellite technology to support lunar exploration and habitation.
  • Space Traffic Management and Orbital Debris Remediation: The growing emphasis on managing the orbital environment and addressing space debris reflects the industry’s commitment to sustainable space operations.

The insights from the SATELLITE 2024 conference underscore the satellite industry’s dynamic evolution and readiness to embrace new challenges and opportunities. This era of technological convergence, marked by the integration of satellite, cellular, and IoT technologies, represents an exciting phase for the satellite sector and offers many opportunities to redefine global connectivity and digital transformation.

Access Partnership is at the forefront of these developments and actively supports companies and governments with adapting and thriving in the modern space, satellite, and connectivity ecosystems. To learn how Access Partnership can help your company spot opportunities and emerging trends before they happen and secure your place as an industry leader, please contact Hamza Hameed at [email protected].

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