Small satellite is also referred as miniaturized satellite or small sat, usually under 500kg mass. Small satellites are designed for a specific missions such as geological monitoring or communications and are often laced with a single instrument. According to Coherent Market Insights’ analysis, around 6,200 new small satellite are expected to be launched during 2018 – 2028.
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Increasing adoption of small satellites in earth observatory for several aspects such as weather forecast and agricultural or waste land management is expected to boost the market growth. Small sat also plays a key role in disaster management. For instance, in November 2018, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched HySIS— the earth observation satellite from its Satish Dhawan Space Center. The satellite is tasked to offer data related to agriculture, forestry, soil survey, geology, coastal zone studies, inland water studies, environmental monitoring, and pollution detection from industries.
Small satellite reduces large economic cost of launch vehicles and cost associated with construction of satellites. For instance, according to University of Colorado at Boulder November 2018 report, a cubesat mission costs around US$ 2 million to build and operate, which is far less than full-sized satellite expanses.
Earth observatory segment is expected to witness considerable growth in the market over the forecast period:
Earth observatory small satellites are used to monitoring civil engineering projects, especially in rural or remote areas. Therefore, increasing development of spectral imaging technologies is expected to boost demand for small satellites over the forecast period. For instance, in 2014, Boeing received its first commercial order for the 502 Phoenix small satellite from HySpecIQ — a high resolution hyperspectral imaging information provider based in Washington D.C. These satellites will carry the company’s first high-resolution hyperspectral payload that is capable of providing high-fidelity spectral imaging by earth observatory.
Key players operating in the global small satellite market include, Harris Corporation Airbus Defense and Space, Boeing, Geooptics Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, Millennium Space Systems Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, OHB AG, Oneweb Ltd, Planet Labs Inc., Sierra Nevada Corporation, Singapore Technologies Engineering Limited, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (Space X), Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd., and Thales Alenia Space.
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