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Small Satellite Market Foresees Big Future Ahead

Usually of low mass and size and weight under 500 kg, small satellites were basically introduced into the world in order to minimize the cost of overall production along with making it possible to accomplish the missions that were not possible on large satellites. Categorized into three types, nanosatellite, microsatellite, and minisatellites, advancements in miniaturization of space technology have made these satellites more economical and more feasible for use in commercial as well as government and military sectors.

The value of the global small satellite market which is estimated to be worth USD 2.22 Billion in 2016 is projected to reach USD 5.32 Billion by the end of 2021, growing at a CAGR of 19.14% during the forecast period 2016-2021. On the basis of type, the market for minisatellites is estimated to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. However, the market for microsatellites is expected to be the fastest-growing segment, owing to their increased demand since they can be used for high precision and complex space missions. Based on application, the segment of earth observation and meteorology is projected to hold the largest market share during the forecast period. Among end-users, the market for commercial small satellites is expected to witness the maximum growth during the forecast period, owing to an increase in R&D activities.

Which region is expected to witness the highest growth and how?

The Rest of the World region which includes countries such as Brazil and Iran is expected to witness the highest growth in the small satellite market, owing to the various initiatives being undertaken by emerging economies to develop and launch small satellites which are more economical.

What will drive Small Satellite Market in the coming years?

Some of the factors driving the demand for small satellites include increasing focus on reducing mission costs and the rising need for earth observation-related applications of small satellites. The increase in focus by companies such as OneWeb to develop small satellites which can provide affordable broadband services to remote locations is expected to provide various growth opportunities for this market in the near future.

What possible factors are likely to help overcome the restraints in the growth of this market?

One of the major factors expected to restraint the growth of the small satellite market is the lack of dedicated launch vehicles for this class of satellites. However, companies such as SpaceX are developing launch vehicles specifically designed for small satellites, which is expected to help the market players overcome the above-mentioned restraint.

Who is the leading market player and what is their strategy to maintain their position in the market?

The leading player on the basis of number of small satellites launched is expected to be Sierra Nevada Corporation, which delivered the final 11 satellites in the ORBCOMM Generation 2 (OG2) constellation in 2015, accounting for 39% of the total market share. The company is an integrator of small satellites and has been focusing on collaborations with other leading players to achieve maximum growth in this market.

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Some of the key strategies adopted by other market players include contracts, new product launches, and partnerships & agreements along with joint collaborations to sustain their hold on the market.

Space (U.S.), Sierra Nevada Corporation (U.S), ST Engineering Limited (Singapore), Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd (U.K.), Planet Labs (U.S), Airbus Defense and Space (Netherland), Northrop Grumman Corporation (U.S.), Boeing (U.S), Thales Alenia Space (France), Millennium Space Systems Inc. (U.S.), Lockheed Martin Corporation (U.S.), GeoOptics Inc. (U.S.), OneWeb Ltd. (U.S.), OHB (Germany), Harris Corporation (U.S), Spire Global Inc. (U.S.), and Aerospace Corporation (U.S.) are the major players operating in the global market for small satellites.

Research Scope

The analysis and forecasts for the global small satellite market has been done by breaking it down into the following categories and sub-categories:

  • Type: Nanosatellite, Minisatellite, Microsatellite
  • End-User: Civil, Defense, Commercial
  • Application: Communication, Earth Observation & Monitoring, Mapping & Navigation, Scientific Research & Exploration, Surveillance & Security
  • Geography: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, RoW

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