As Space Industry Booms, Sourcing for Aerospace Contract Manufacturing Takes Off


This Thomas Index Report is sponsored by Airmods LLC, a leading provider of engineering and fabrication support for aircraft modification centers.

Hello. In this week’s Thomas Index Report, we’re going to take a look at sourcing activity for Aerospace Contract Manufacturing by users of the platform. Our data shows that over the past six months, sourcing activity for this category is up 33% over its historical average. In addition, our data shows that sourcing activity is also up 18% or more in the related categories of Aerospace Heat Treating and Aerospace Machining.

The private aerospace industry is in the news, as Elon Musk’s SpaceX recently launched its unmanned Crew Dragon capsule, which successfully docked with the international space station. After the closing of the space shuttle program in 2011, NASA turned to SpaceX and Boeing to each deliver their own solution for bringing U.S. astronauts to the space station. It’s expected that sometime this summer, both companies will launch crews toward the station.

Other companies, such as Sierra Nevada Corp. and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, are also developing crew transport vehicles. This is in addition to the dozens of private sector launch vehicle makers that are either developing or are already successfully launching rockets to deliver nonhuman payloads into orbit.

Beyond solutions for delivering humans, satellites, robots, and platforms to orbit the earth, NASA is working with private companies to develop commercial lunar landers and other solutions for future missions to the moon. This effort follows a presidential space policy directive signed in 2017, one that directed NASA to focus on a return to the lunar surface, with an ultimate goal of missions that bring humans to Mars. Today, NASA, SpaceX, and Boeing are all involved in projects designed to deliver space crews to the red planet.

Overall, the U.S. space industry is a booming business, with a huge amount of private investment flowing into the sector. According to Bryce Space and Technology, venture capitalists alone invested 1.6 billion dollars in the industry in 2017, for a wide range of startup companies working on everything from satellite antennas to 3D-printed rocket engines. As the private sector expands its role in exploring the final frontier, we expect sourcing for aerospace-related services to continue on an upward trend.

Moving on from Aerospace, here’s a look at the top ten industrial product and service categories being sourced on the platform over the past four weeks.

  1. Steel
  2. Contract Manufacturing
  3. Material Handling Equipment
  4. CNC Machining
  5. Injection Molded Plastics
  6. Packaging
  7. Plastic Bottles
  8. Corrugated Boxes
  9. Printed Circuit Boards
  10. Food Products

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Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next week.

Image Credit: Thomas

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