The Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST) and the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) have prepared forecasts of global demand for commercial space launch services for the 10-year period from 2012 through 2021.
The 2012 Commercial Space Transportation Forecasts report is in two sections:
* The COMSTAC 2012 Commercial Geosynchronous Orbit (GSO) Launch Demand Forecast, which projects demand for commercial satellites that operate in GSO and the resulting commercial launch demand to GSO; and
* The FAA's 2012 Commercial Space Transportation Forecast for Non- Geosynchronous Orbits (NGSO), which projects commercial launch demand for satellites to NGSO, such as low Earth orbit (LEO), medium Earth orbit (MEO), elliptical (ELI) orbits, and external (EXT) orbits beyond the Earth. Together, the COMSTAC and FAA forecasts project an average annual demand of 29.1 commercial space launches worldwide from 2012 through 2021, up from 28.6 launches in the 2011 forecasts. The reports project an average of 16.3 commercial GSO launches and 12.8 NGSO launches for 2012 through 2021. Figure 1 shows the combined 2012 GSO and NGSO Historical Launches and Launch Forecast. Table 1 shows the number of payloads and launches projected from 2012 through 2021.
It important to distinguish between forecast demand and the number of satellites actually launched. Launch vehicle and satellite programs are complex, and susceptible to delays, which generally makes the forecast demand for launches the upper limit of actual launches in the near-term forecast.