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Later today, President Biden will propose a federal budget allocation for the fiscal year 2024. Among other line items, the Space Force’s budget will be revealed, and some expect the latest increase in funding for the service branch to be significantly larger than this year’s $7 billion hike. Recent contract awards and project announcements from the Space Force and its Space Development Agency (SDA) have been heavily focused on the deployment of satellites and satellite-supporting technologies.

Satellite industry pure-plays like Maxar, BlackSky, and Planet Labs earned billions of dollars’ worth of contracts in 2022, spread out over the next decade, and new deals have continued to roll in this year. That has helped to boost the financial positioning of these smaller firms as they work to compete with defense industry mainstays like Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and L3 Harris.

Related ETF & Stocks: SPDR S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF (XAR), Maxar Technologies Inc. (MAXR), BlackSky Technology Inc. (BKSY), Planet Labs PBC (PL), Raytheon Technologies Corporation (RTX), The Boeing Company (BA)

Satellites’ utility to the defense industry appears to have grown significantly in the past few months, based on the volume of contracts and projects the Department of Defense (DoD) has been rolling out.

Last month, the National Security Space Association’s head of legislative affairs, Mike Tierney, noted that the Biden administration is likely to seek another significant increase for the US Space Force in its budget proposal for fiscal 2024. Those plans will be revealed this afternoon and build on the $24.5 billion budget the Space Force requested for this year. That represented a 40.8% hike YoY and spending growth in 2024 could potentially rival that rate. “What we’re hearing is another substantial increase for the Space Force in the ‘24 request,” he added. Per SpaceNews, Tierney predicts the increase could be anywhere from $3 billion to $6 billion above what was requested in fiscal 2023.

News broke last month that the Space Force was implementing a new plan to broaden its pool of national security launch providers for the first time to small launch companies that can send satellites only to low and medium Earth orbits. That opens the door to increased competition for billions of dollars in contracts between fiscal 2025 and 2034, some of which could mirror the long-term mega deals struck between the government and several private satellite firms last year.

On April 26, MRP first highlighted the key role satellite imagery is playing in the US’s monitoring of Russia’s attack on Ukraine and its implications for the world. Government agencies and media sources alike have been bombarding satellite companies for photographs, 3D mapping, and other data, prompting the firms to expedite the expansion of their constellations. This was referred to as…

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