Small-satellites market is heating up

The small-satellite launch service market is gaining pace with 89 small satellites launched in the third quarter of 2018 and thousands more expected.

New research from Frost & Sullivan forecasts an estimated launch demand for 11,746 small satellites for new constellation installations and replacement missions by 2030. They will perform a range of services from monitoring, tracking, surveillance, and IoT more.

Such demand would take the small-satellite launch services market past the $69 billion mark and present significant growth opportunities throughout the industry. In order to keep up with market demand, Frost & Sullivan anticipates innovative solutions will be deployed across the value chain including launch, manufacturing, and supply chain.

Seven new players have been identified as joining the small-satellite launch services race.

Small satellites in the mass segments—0 to 15 Kg and 150 to 500 Kg—will cumulatively account for 73.8% of the small-satellite launch demand, in the high scenario, from 2018–2030. A total payload mass of 2,758 potential tonnes of small satellites is expected to be launched in the high scenario from 2018–2030.

In the high scenario, 97.7% of the total payload launch mass demand will be generated by commercial operators, with the major contributors being Space X, EarthNow, and Oneweb, while 37 small-satellite commercial operators will generate more than 90% of the launch demand for their constellation installation and replacement missions.

"Quarter three 2018 witnessed the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) implementing new international technology specifications for cube satellites detailing the minimum requirements for the spacecraft throughout its lifecycle,” said Kamalanathan Kaspar, Senior Industry Analyst, Space. "New entrants will need to ensure technology advancements comply with evolving standards."

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