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The global small satellite market size was valued at USD 4.90 billion in 2021. The market is projected to grow from USD 5.60 billion in 2022 to USD 12.02 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 11.53% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with small satellite experiencing higher-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a growth of 10.2% in 2020 as compared to 2019.
A satellite is an object designed and developed for many applications such as navigation, communication, earth observation, and others. Small satellites or smallsats are launched into various orbits such as Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), and Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) using rockets. The design, size, payload capacity, and altitude of the satellite depend on the purpose of the mission. Smallsats are mainly used for communication due to their various applications such as voice communication and television broadcasting, remote sensing, weather monitoring, internet applications, and others. In 2020, 1,283 small satellites were launched globally.
Production Disruption Due to COVID-19 Made Space Industry to Face Unmatched Challenges
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the space industry hard in 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, major players in this market have faced unprecedented challenges due to production disruptions, postponed satellite launches, and various suspended contracts. The Guiana Space Center suspended Soyuz launch activities scheduled for mid-March 2022. Samara Space Center, the maker of Soyuz rockets, has put rocket production on hold due to the pandemic.
Russia-Ukraine War Crisis Impacted the Satellite Market by Canceling Launch Services
The ongoing war in Ukraine, the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies on the Russian Federation, and Russia's response to those sanctions are affecting the space environment in several ways. The impact of the Russo-Ukrainian war on civil space relations between Russia and the West is also affecting the industry’s growth. The consequences of the war are not limited to the areas of cooperation in the civil sphere. Russia and its quasi-civilian space agency, Roscosmos, played an important role in the commercial space market, thereby declining the favor of alternative launch service providers in the United States, Europe, and possibly countries such as India and Japan.
The war also affects the import and export flows of space and technology, with implications for both the economy and national security. Most disturbingly, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has demonstrated outstanding military advantages of commercial space systems, which make such systems likely targets for belligerents and may require countermeasures, or at least consideration, by private companies that control them.
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Adoption of 3D Printed Parts to Manufacture Smallsat to Fuel Market Growth
The number of 3D-printed parts onboard small satellites is growing amid advances in additive manufacturing. Small satellite manufacturers are embracing the technology to cut costs and accelerate production for increasingly capable spacecraft. Advances are paving the way to a future where satellites can print parts in orbit. Moreover, satellites and other important instruments in satellites, such as antennas and radars, can be 3D-printed in space with the help of sunlight, using a new patented technology that promises to eliminate large and heavy satellite parts that take up too much space in a rocket. For instance,
Rising Internet of Things (IoT) Integration in the Manufacturing Industry to Aid Market Growth
The Internet of Things (IoT) requires devices to be connected to the internet. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and terrestrial GSM networks can support many IoT applications. However, they cannot give the same level of coverage as satellites. Satellite technology is proving to be a critical enabler in the transformation of IoT connections across industries and geographical boundaries. Transportation, mining, consumers, and oil & gas are among the applications. IoT devices use satellite connectivity for data transfer and exchange between components and IoT systems during manufacturing. As a result, satellite connection is critical in the industrial sector and process automation, propelling the industry forward.
The key benefit of IoT is that IoT devices consume the least amount of energy. For effective IoT installations, IoT provides safe and high-availability data services for professional users and a high level of service reliability. The market is expected to benefit from the connectivity provided by IoT in industrial applications for machine control and production via satellites. These are some of the key aspects that are expected to propel the market forward.
Demand for Small Satellites with a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is on the Rise Due to its Expanded Capacity
Small satellites with expanded capacity for enterprise data (retail, banking), energy (oil, gas, mining), and governments in developed countries are in high demand. As a result, demand for low-cost broadband is increasing among individual consumers in less developed countries and rural locations, where internet connections may be limited. These market expectations are driving investments in small sat-based LEO constellations. In addition, there is a huge demand for low-cost, high-speed internet in developed countries. If all planned GEO HTS satellites and LEO constellations succeed, supply could be far greater than demand, lowering the price per megabit.
SpaceX (U.S.), Orbcomm (U.S.), and SES S.A (Luxembourg), as well as Planet Labs (U.S.) have launched satellite constellations into orbit. OneWeb (U.K.), Boeing (U.S.), TeleSat (Canada), and Amazon (U.S.) are all working on tiny satellite constellations. However, not all of them are likely to succeed. Although there is a high demand for low-cost, high-speed broadband in developed countries, if all planned GEO HTS satellites and LEO constellations succeed, supply could far outstrip demand, driving the price per megabit down to 3 terabits of bandwidth by 2025 for broadband access from GEO, MEO, and LEO satellites; proposed LEO constellations could deliver nearly 10 times as much.
Shortage of Small Satellite Launch Vehicles to Restrain Market Growth
Small satellite launch options include rideshares as secondary payloads on rockets launching giant satellites or transporting cargo to the International Space Station. The inexpensive cost of a piggyback launch is offset by the fact that it requires a predetermined orbit and, as a result, delays in the launch of the primary spacecraft. These possibilities impose limitations regarding the integration and launch timeframes, orbit destinations, and subsystem flexibility in smallsat. Smallsat operators have developed technology to safely carry huge numbers of smallsats as secondary payloads on large launchers due to businesses such as Spaceflight Industries (U.S.), ECM Space (Germany), TriSept (U.S.), Tyvak (U.S.), and Innovative Solutions in Space (Netherlands).
Existing significant launcher organizations (ISRO (India), ULA (U.S.), Glavkosmos (Russia), Arianespace (Europe), and MH (Japan)) have announced intentions to increase the number of launches in the coming years, anticipating large volumes of satellite launches. Other companies, such as Blue Origin, SpaceX, and ULA, are working on huge new launchers scheduled to be operational in the next two to five years and are available for smallsat rideshares.
However, dedicated tiny satellite launch vehicles for only small payloads are currently unavailable, which might theoretically provide very reliable, rapid, and dedicated access to several orbits and aircraft. These vehicles' usual specific launch cost is often higher than their medium and intermediate lift counterparts, and the payload may not fully exploit the vehicle's capabilities. As a result, the payload operator may be unable to justify the usage of the launch vehicle on a financial basis. The restrictions that must be overcome are competitive pricing, similar complexity to large LVs, scaling down with profit reduction for LV makers, and export concerns.
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Mini Satellite Segment Dominated the Market Due to Increased Research & Development Activities
Based on type, the market is segmented into mini satellite, nano satellite, and micro satellite. The mini satellite segment had the largest market share in 2021. The dominance is due to increased research and development activities and the rise of space laboratories for upcoming missions to asteroids, the moon, and Mars. It is estimated that the nano satellite segment will witness significant growth over the small satellite market forecast period owing to increasing usage for earth observation. The micro satellite segment will see modest growth due to the increasing use of CubeSat for space exploration and scientific applications.
Structures Segment is Anticipated to Grow at a Faster Pace due to Increasing Demand for Smallsats
On the basis of component, the market is categorized into payload, structures, solar panel and antenna system, electric power system, propulsion system, and others. The structures segment will see significant growth over the period 2022-2029. The growth is attributed to the increasing demand for satellites for various applications. The growing demand for satellites is due to the expansion of satellite services in remote locations, which, in turn, is driving the growth of the structures segment.
The payload segment is predicted to witness significant growth over the forecast period. Payloads will be used for numerous applications such as navigation, communications, earth observation, weather monitoring, and others. An electrical power system is used to power satellite systems. The solar panel and antenna system segment will see moderate growth as it is used to power satellite subsystems such as navigation systems, communication systems, and others.
Communication Segment to Dominate Owing to Growing Use of Satellites
Based on application, the market is segmented into communication, navigation, earth observation, technology development, and others. The communication segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR from 2022-2029. The growth is attributed to the increased adoption of communications antennas in the government and commercial sectors. Satellites provide various communications services such as data communications, broadcasting, and telecommunications.
Satellites play an important role in providing programs for laptops, mobile phones, and personal digital assistants. The earth observation segment is expected to see significant growth as it is used to monitor climate and water. Navigation will see remarkable growth due to increased use of GPS for mapping, aircraft navigation, and agricultural assistance.
Commercial Segment to Hold Largest Market Share Attributable to its Adoption in Military Applications
Based on end-user, the market is segmented into civil, commercial, military, and government. The commercial segment has the largest market share due to the growing number of internet services and mobile users in 2021. The increasing use of satellites for enemy surveillance is driving the market growth. Satellites offer various commercial applications such as navigation, communications, weather forecasting, and others.
The military segment will grow significantly due to the increasing use of satellites in surveillance missions. The government segment will see notable growth due to increasing involvement of government space agencies in satellite development programs.
North America Small Satellite Market Size, 2021(USD Billion)
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The global market is segmented, based on region, into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Rest of the World.
The market size in North America was USD 2.53 billion in 2021. North America held the largest market share and continued to dominate over the forecast period. Increasing research and development activities by NASA and growing military spending on surveillance missions are driving the market across the region. NASA's adoption of SKYWAN technology and tri-band antenna enables real-time transmission, which is the best transmission for each application. In July 2020, the CubeSat launch initiative deployed the 109th CubeSat from the international space station.
Europe is expected to witness healthy small satellite market growth over the forecast period due to the launch of the internet and IoT-based services for numerous applications. The key variable liable for the development of the market is that the makers aim toward limiting general mission cost. Moreover, rising developments in the tech area for space investigations are additionally assessed to improve the abilities of smallsat, consequently driving the market development.The Asia Pacific region is witnessing remarkable growth in the small satellite market due to the growing demand for satellites from India, China, and Japan. Between 2020 and 2021, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) plans to launch several satellites, including three communications satellites, 10 earth observation satellites, three space research satellites, and two navigation satellites.
The rest of the world will experience significant growth during the forecast period due to the rise of internet-based services in the Middle East and Africa. In any case, the factor that could hamper market development throughout the next few years is lower expense associated with the creation of satellites, making market players pick up the pace of the production cycle, thereby bringing about a high risk of takeoff failures.
Key Players Focus on Business Expansion through New Product Launches
Satellite manufacturers primarily focus on expanding business through contracts with space companies and government agencies. In February 2020, Airbus S.A.S presented a new portfolio of Earth observation satellites, including S250 Optical and S250 Radar. In July 2020, Airbus developed Prometheus, a next-generation Software-defined Radio (SDR) payload, launched on Faraday1 CubeSat from New Zealand.
An Infographic Representation of Small Satellite Market
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The global market report offers an in-depth technical analysis of the market. It mainly focuses on key aspects such as leading market players, the impact of COVID19 on the market, major technological trends, systems, and the research ideology of the product. Additionally, the report provides insights into market trends and highlights key industry developments and trends. Apart from the mentioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that will contribute to the market's growth during the forecast period.
Value (USD Billion)
By Type, Component, Application, End-user, and Geography
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 4.90 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 12.02 billion by 2029.
Registering a CAGR of 11.53%, the market will exhibit rapid growth during the forecast period (2022-2029)
The mini satellite, structures, communication, and commercial are the leading segments in the market.
Airbus S.A.S., the Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Thales Group, SpaceX, and L3Harris Technologies, Inc. are the major players in the global market.
North America dominated the market in terms of share in 2021.
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