Long lead times – Components can take over a year to manufacture given the stringent quality and reliability requirements. This makes planning and coordination difficult.
Quality and reliability – The operating conditions in space are extremely harsh. Parts and materials must function reliably for years or decades with little scope for maintenance or repair. This necessitates extensive testing and qualification.
Logistics coordination – There is significant logistics coordination needed between global suppliers, manufacturers, launch sites and ground stations. Transportation links are complex with few alternate options.
Limited suppliers – There are a small number of qualified suppliers for specialized components which exacerbates lead time and quality risks.
Dynamic environment – Frequent changes in government budgets, policies and regulations lead to shifting project timelines. Technical issues can also cause delays, making it difficult to manage uncertainties.
Overcoming these challenges requires close collaboration between all players in the space industry supply chain.