NSR’s newly released Small Satellite Markets, 4th Edition (SSM4) report identifies growth across the 1-500 kg smallsat market with 5,000 satellites launching within the next decade, generating cumulative revenues of $25B in manufacturing and launch services. Constellations remain the strongest driver of market growth; 70% of satellites to launch will be part of such a group of 5 or more satellites with the same mission. North America and Asia present the largest near-term opportunities, building on well-developed satellite ecosystems and leveraging the growth prospects in Earth Observation, Communications, and Science applications.
2017 was a strong year for the smallsat market, making up for declining launch rates in 2015 and 2016 with over 300 satellites launched and several new systems commencing deployment. “More and more players across the value chain are looking to engage in the smallsat market, seeing an opportunity to leverage their existing business and capabilities in this rapidly evolving segment,” comments report author and NSR Senior Analyst Carolyn Belle. “As these players cement their offerings and look to build market share, competition will heighten, and today’s young market will begin to mature. The key question now facing the industry is, how many players can the market support, and how will M&A activity make its mark?”
Through this market maturation, a robust industry based on one-time projects and individual satellites will sustain activity through the ups and downs of constellation deployment and replenishment cycles. Siddharth Shihora, NSR Analyst and report co-author, noted “emerging constellations will be challenged to balance CAPEX, investment, and revenue generation, particularly for systems designed with rapid replenishment rates that generate constant CAPEX requirements.” NSR does not anticipate all systems currently in development to launch, with a forecasted success rate of less than 50% as operators seek the right response to myriad challenges.