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Small Satellite Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Type (Mini Satellite, Micro Satellite, and Nano Satellite), By Component (Structure, Payload, Electric Power System, Solar Panel and Antenna Systems, Propulsion Systems, and others), By Application (Communication, Earth Observation, Navigation, Technology Development, and Others), By End User (Commercial, Military, Civil, and Government) and Regional Forecast, 2019-2026

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI101917



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The global small satellite market size was valued at USD 4.18 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 18.30 billion by 2026, exhibiting at a CAGR of 20.28% during the forecast period.

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A satellite is an object which is designed and manufactured according to various applications. This satellites are launched into orbit by using rockets. There are currently thousands of active satellites rotating around the earth. The design, altitude, and size of a satellite depends on its purpose of deployment.

Communication occurred between any two earth stations going through a satellite is called a satellite communication. In this communication, electromagnetic waves are used as carrier signals. These signals carry information such as voice, audio, video, or any other data between ground and space and vice-versa. Majorly satellites are used for communication purposes. Satellite communication (SATCOM) has several applications such as radio broadcasting & voice communications, internet application & navigations, remote sensing, water monitoring, and weather monitoring applications. Communication is an exchange of space information between two or more entities, carried out by a medium or channel. Its main functionality is sending, receiving, and processing of information.

As per the list of orbits, the satellite is classified as a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite, medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite, and geostationary earth orbit (GEO) satellite. Among these, the LEO satellite covers orbital period of 10 to 40 minutes. It provides better signal strength and minimum signal propagation delay. MEO satellite has an orbital period of 2 to 8 hours. It shows lower time delay in terms of communication signal. GEO satellite has an orbital period of 24 hours. With only three or more GEO satellites, SATCOM systems can cover the earth's vast geographical area, which provides satellite connectivity for 24 hours. Such satellites are broadly used for continuous visibility for commercial applications.

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The services of satellite are classified as one-way satellite communication link service and two-way satellite communication link service. In a one-way satellite communication link service, the information is transferred from one ground station to multiple ground stations through a satellite. It provides point to point connectivity as well as point to multipoint connectivity. The communication is carried out between the first ground station transmitter and the second ground station’s receiver. Applications of one-way satellite communication link services are broadcasting satellite data for radio, television, and internet services.

In a two-way satellite communication link, the information is exchanged between ground-based stations through a satellite. It is used specifically used for point to point connectivity. The communication is carried out between the first ground station transmitter and second ground station receiver on the ground surface in both directions. Two-way satellite communication is widely used for mobile connectivity for commercial and defense services.

High data rate communication technology used to provide faster internet service across the globe is the key opportunity of the global small satellite market. However, design-related limitations for satellites and lack of skilled workforce for design and development of nanosatellites are expected to restrict the market growth.


“Rise in Integration of Internet of Things (IoT) in Manufacturing Industry  to Boost the Market”

The connectivity offered by (IoT) in industrial application for machine control & production through satellites is projected to boost the market during the forecast period. Industrial applications for IoT based devices are exchanging real time data to the processing units, that help to enhance the machine control and production operation in the manufacturing industry. IoT devices use satellite connectivity to transmit & exchange real time data between the IoT systems and components in the manufacturing process. Earlier, data exchange between the machine control & production was dependent on terrestrial GSM networks, which is now getting replaced by the satellite connectivity. Satellite technology proves as a key enabler to transform IoT connectivity across manufacturing industries and process automation.

“Emergence of 5G Networks to propel the growth of the Market”

The 5G service is used to provide improved end-user experience by offering new applications and services through gigabit speeds. 5G services also enhance the performance and reliability of the commutation network. 5G is a consolidation of 2G, 3G, and 4G mobile networks. 5G is also projected to increase data rates significantly and reduce latency compared to 3G and 4G. The 5G network provides a range of high-speed broadband services. The broadband connectivity uses the terrestrial technology to provide 4G networks. Terrestrial technology gets distorted by various factors such as remote locations, high cost of infrastructure, and environmental factors. Thus, the requirement of high speed data network for 5G was a challenge to the terrestrial network, which has improved with the use of satellite communications. In the initial stage of the 5G technology, the primary focus was given to terrestrial technology with the combination of the high altitude platform systems (HAPS) and satellite communication. HAPS and satellite communication will deliver high data rates to terrestrial wireless backhaul networks outside major urban as well as suburban areas.  

5G is also projected to drive the evolution of smart cities and IoT through the deployment of low-power sensor networks in cities as well as in rural areas. The security and robustness built into 5G will make it suitable for public safety. It is also used in mission-critical services such as healthcare, smart grids, energy, and power utilities. All the aforementioned factors show that 5G services are expected to drive the small satellite market.


By Type

“Increasing Demand for Space Laboratory Research Drives the Market Growth”

Based on type, the small satellite market has been segmented into the mini-satellite, microsatellite, and nanosatellite.

Amongst these, nanosatellites covered the major small satellite market share in 2018. This is attributable to the demand for space laboratory, research and development activities for the upcoming missions to the Moon, Mars, and asteroids. In case of microsatellite segment, the CubeSat is widely used for space research. It has a mass of 1.33 kilograms and is widely used for scientific applications. Whereas, mini-satellite is majorly used for earth observation.

By Component

“Rise in the Number of Satellites would Propel the Growth of Structure Segment”

Based on components, the small satellite market is divided into structure, payload, electric power system, solar panel & antenna systems, propulsion systems, and others. The structure segment is anticipated to be the largest market segment during the forecast period. The rise in demand for satellite would create demand for structures segment. The demand for small satellite services and networks for commercial applications has increased in the past few years due to its vast application in civil missions and military missions. It is also providing growth opportunities to extend satellite services in remote locations.

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The small satellite payload segment is a combination of various payloads used for applications such as communication, navigation, earth observation, and monitoring among others. Electric power system is used to provide power to the internal satellite systems. It is a combination of solar cells and batteries that maintain energy during the solar eclipse. Whereas, propulsion systems are mainly used to move the satellite from one orbit to another orbit. The solar panel and antenna systems are used to power the satellite subsystems which generally comprises of communication systems, navigation systems, and others.

By Application

“Increasing Use of Satellite for Communication and Navigation to Propel the Market Growth”

Based on the application, the small satellite market is classified into communication, earth observation, navigation, technology development, and others. The communication segment is estimated to be the largest segment due to the rapid use of communication antenna in the commercial sector as well as the government sector. There are three types of communication services provided by satellites including telecommunications, broadcasting, and data communications. Telecommunication services consist of telephone calls and services provided to telephone companies, along with wireless, mobile, and cellular network providers. Broadcasting services include radio and television services. Network and cable programming delivered to local stations are affiliated mainly via satellite. Satellites also play an essential role in providing programming to cell phones and other mobile devices such as personal digital assistants and laptops.

Satellites are also used for earth observation purposes such as water monitoring to monitor sea level. These are also used to monitor weather forecasting for disaster management. Navigation is the main application of satellites such as the global positioning system used to map forests, navigate airplanes on the air, and assist in farming.

 By End-User

“Market to Exhibit Growth Opportunities with Rising Implementation of Satellites in Battlefield for Enemy Surveillance”

Based on the end-user, the small satellite market analysis is segmented into commercial, military, civil, and government. In 2018, the commercial segment is estimated to hold the largest market share due to the rise in mobile users and internet-based services. The rising implementation of satellites on the battlefield for enemy surveillance is one of the factors responsible for boosting the small satellite market growth. PSLV C-45 satellite is a low-earth orbit surveillance satellite, mainly launched for military purposes, and helps to monitor the locations of enemy radar sites deep in their territory.

Satellites such as nanosatellite CubeSat, microsatellite, and mini-satellite received significant attention recently. The main advantage of nanosatellite is its cost-effectiveness. Satellites are used for various commercial, civil applications, including communication, navigation, and weather forecasting. Satellites demand is increasing due to the rise in participation of government space agencies in satellite development and the growing demand for satellite use in earth observation applications. Rising demand for satellites in the defense sector is also high due to their use in surveillance activities, growing demand from NASA and the US Department of Defense, and private sectors, such as research organizations and the telecommunication sector. Raytheon Company (US) and the U.S. Air Force signed a contract with a valuation of USD 37 million to support anti-jamming efforts for satellite communications.


North America is the largest market in the small satellite and projected to be dominant throughout the forecast period. The increase in military expenditures, coupled with rising space research and development activities by NASA to develop the technologically advanced satellite. It is capable of handling several space projects owing to the growing demand for navigation, disaster management such as pre-alert from cyclones, network communication, and surveillance. Adoption of the triband antenna, SKYWAN technology by NASA, is a unique hybrid modem which competes with MF-TDMA and DVB-S2X, allowing for real-time transmission with high throughput, the best transport per application. It delivers broadcast, enterprise, governmental and defense solutions and features a quickly deployable hub less infrastructure. There is a rise in satellite communication (SATCOM) drones providing secure communications-on-the-move capabilities to the unmanned domain such as UAVs, UGVs, USV, UUVs.

North America Small Satellite Market Size, 2018

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Increasing use of satellite devices in the region such as GPSMAP 86i, used for coastal navigation and satellite communication is projected to support the growth of the market. In 2019, SPACE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGIES CORP. (Space X) developed the reusable satellite launch vehicle (RSLV) system. It is a space launch system that covers the recovery of a few component stages or all of the components stages. It is a reusable two-stage vehicle used to replace Falcon9 and used to reduce space debris. It also supports missions to Mars and the Moon.  Therefore, increasing funding from the U.S. government for satellite launching systems has boosted the market growth.

Asia Pacific also shows considerable growth, expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. This growth majorly attributed to the high demand for satellites from countries such as China, Japan, and India. The space research expenditure of these countries is increasing due to the advanced space research programs, which will, in turn, add to the small satellite market trends in Asia Pacific. In 2018, China allocated USD 8 billion for in space research program. In 2019, the Indian space research organization (ISRO) successfully launched the U.S. nanosatellites called CARTOSAT-3, 13. Increasing investments in Asia-Pacific countries for the space research programs is anticipated to drive the small satellite market. In Europe, adoption of Internet-of-Things (IoT) and  increasing use of internet services are anticipated to give significant impetus to the  market. According to Internet World Stats, at the beginning of 2018, only 35.2% of Africans used the internet, compared to 58.4% for the rest of the world. The adoption of internet services in the Middle East & Africa countries would help the market rise at a considerable CAGR in the forthcoming years. .


In the small satellite market report, key companies have a comprehensive product portfolio and partnership with governments across the globe. It has a broad geographic presence and continuous R&D investment. Key players such as Airbus S.A.S., Lockheed Martin Corporation., Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, and others will strengthen the market position by adopting several strategies.

Satellite manufacturers are majorly focusing on establishing space contracts with government and space-related companies. Moreover, these companies are expanding their business by adopting strategies such as mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, focusing on product portfolio, long term contracts, & agreements.

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The report offers an in-depth detailed coverage of the small satellite market, which includes industry chain structure, definitions, applications, and classifications.  It includes information on international markets, including development trends, competitive landscape analysis, investment plans, business strategy, and opportunity.

An Infographic Representation of Small Satellite Market

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Along with this, the report provides a detailed analysis of the global market dynamics and competitive landscape for the key manufacturers of the small satellite market.

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Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD Million)


By Type

  • Mini Satellite

  • Micro Satellite

  • Nano Satellite

By Component

  • Structures

  • Payload

  • Electric Power System

  • Solar Panel and Antenna Systems

  • Propulsion Systems

  • Others

By Application

  • Communication

  • Earth Observation

  • Navigation

  • Technology Development

  • Others

By End-User

  • Commercial

  • Military

  • Civil

  • Government

By Geography

  • North America (The U.S., and Canada)

  • Europe (The U.K, Germany, France, Russia, and Rest of Europe)

  • Asia Pacific (China, India, South Korea, Japan, and Rest of Asia Pacific)

  • Rest of the World (South America, The Middle East, and Africa)


  • In December 2019, Landscape, a Chinese space launch company received USD 71 million funding from Garden Venture Capital to develop two-stage Zhuque-2 (Vermillion Bird-2) medium-lift launch vehicle. This vehicle is used to launch small satellite.

  • In February 2016, Harris Corporation received a contract from NASA. In this contract, Harris corporation to build two payloads for the fourth and fifth weather satellite in the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This is a joint polar satellite systems program.

  • In February 2016, Airbus Defense and Space signed an agreement related to distribution with the Singapore Technologies Electronics (Satcom & Sensors Systems). Airbus’ imagery and services are expected to complement Singapore’s TeLEOS-1 earth observation satellite.

  • In March 2016, Airbus Defense and Space had a contract with the U.K. Ministry of Defence for the manufacturing and operation of two solar-powered Zephyr 8 High altitude Pseudo-satellite (HAPS) craft.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global small satellite market was valued at USD 4.18 Billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 18.30 Billion by 2026.

Growing at a CAGR of 20.28% the market will estimate to show significant growth in the forecast period (2019-2026)

The communication segment is estimated to lead the market during the forecast period.

Rise in investment in space programs and increasing procurement of SATCOM drones estimated to drive the global small satellite market.

Airbus S.A.S., Lockheed Martin Corporation., SPACE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGIES CORP., Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, and among others are some of the leading manufacturing companies in the market.

North America projected to be the largest shareholder in the global small satellite market.

Rise in the integration of the internet of things (IoT), and augmentation of 5G network is a new trend in the global small satellite market.

Small Satellite Market Size, Share and Global Industry Trend Forecast till 2026
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