McKinsey’s work in the space sector

Accelerating the role of the space ecosystem in driving sustainability, security, and technological development on Earth

McKinsey partners with private-sector companies across the space value chain, along with government agencies and investors, to support clients on their most critical space-related topics—ranging from growth and innovation strategies to digital engineering and production scaling.

We help accelerate the role of space as an enabler to solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including the sustainability imperative and the transition to net-zero. To achieve this, we draw on McKinsey’s expertise, knowledge, and tools to deliver tangible results that help clients achieve moonshot ambitions.

80+

dedicated space experts

70+

clients served

20+

countries served

WHAT WE DO

Operations

Supply chain management, procurement transformation, product development, and optimization of business models

Examples of our work:

  • developing an AI roadmap for a leading space agency with over 25 use cases prioritized, and 50 AI use cases assessed for impact and feasibility
  • optimizing product cost for a leading OEM across engineering, manufacturing, and procurement

Strategy & Corporate Finance

Growth strategies, transformations, and assessment of market landscape

Examples of our work:

  • assessing the satellite and launch market landscape to support the development of a client’s product strategy for the next decade
  • developing growth options by scanning the space value chain and identifying eight high-potential targets with robust industrial logic from a list of more than 1,500 space companies
  • supporting a disruptor company with the rapid evaluation of use cases across market verticals, to shape value creation potential and prioritize the go-to-market strategy

Digital Technology

“Big data” strategies, developing IT cost and performance strategies, and IT transformation

Examples of our work:

  • partnering with a leading space OEM to develop a new digital business leveraging space-acquired data to track shutdowns of refineries
  • helping a leading space-defense organization set up a fully digital environment

Partnerships

World Economic Forum

Our knowledge and research partnership with the World Economic Forum is focused on collaborating to chart a course toward a space ecosystem that can yield the greatest benefits on Earth and in space. As part of our collaboration, we have interviewed nearly 100 leaders from the private and public sectors, non-profits, academia, and investors. We also facilitate conversations among groups of industry leaders.

Featured Capabilities

Radar

Radar is McKinsey’s analytics platform for the aerospace and defense market. 

Featured Insights

Article

The role of space in driving sustainability, security, and development on Earth

– A new report reveals five actions that leaders can take to contribute to economic development, advance global security and sustainability, and make space a safe and globally accessible domain.
Article

Space around the globe

– The United States remains the epicenter of space activity, but many more countries are getting involved and increasing their investments.
Collection

The Next Normal – The future of space: It’s getting crowded out there

– Could you soon be taking trips to outer space? Some experts think so. Rocket launches have become much less expensive, so thousands more satellites—and many more people than ever before—can venture into orbit. But more objects in space also mean more space debris and higher risks of collisions. In this edition of The Next Normal, McKinsey experts and industry executives envision the space industry’s next decade.
Article

Space: Investment shifts from GEO to LEO and now beyond

– Investors have recently focused on space ventures in low-Earth orbit, but interest is growing in lunar and beyond orbital regimes. Here’s what you need to know about this ongoing trend.
Article

R&D for space: Who is actually funding it?

– Government still funds most space-sector R&D, but private companies have recently driven a notable uptick in overall investment.
Commentary

Expectations versus reality: Commercial satellite constellations

– Despite a steady, sizeable uptick in announced commercial constellations over the past few years, many constellation operators have yet to meet original ambitions.
Article

Look out below: What will happen to the space debris in orbit?

– With more satellites and space debris in orbit, it’s time for a new approach for mitigating collisions.
Commentary

Wall Street to Mission Control: Can space tourism pay off?

– With the COVID-19 pandemic curtailing earthly travel, space tourism may seem like a far-fetched dream—but some companies are betting on high demand.
Article

Large LEO satellite constellations: Will it be different this time?

– New satellite constellations are on the cusp of deployment, but their long-term success hinges on substantial cost reductions.

KEEP EXPLORING

McKinsey Center for Advanced Connectivity

The McKinsey Center for Advanced Connectivity helps organizations leverage the world’s new digital backbone – including 5G, fiber, cable, Wi-Fi, and short-range technologies – to innovate, boost productivity, and capture the opportunity of a more connected world.

Related Practices

Technology, Media & Telecommuni­cations

Navigating rapidly changing markets to promote innovation, capture new opportunities, and create value

McKinsey Sustainability

Learn how we work with private- and public-sector institutions on challenges created by growing pressure on resource systems and increasing environmental risk.

Strategy & Corporate Finance

Building enduring value through bold strategies

Operations

Read about how we combine strategic thinking with hands-on pragmatism to help our clients achieve world-class operations.

Connect with our space team