12 April 2021 Industry News

Mega-constellations drive buoyant smallsat market

The 2021 update of ‘Prospects for the Small Satellite Market’, released this week by Euroconsult, forecasts further growth in the global supply and demand of government, commercial and academic satellites weighing up to 500 kg.

The market intelligence report, now in its 7th edition, builds upon Euroconsult's previous iteration that accurately predicted more than 1,000 satellites would be launched during 2020, a record year despite COVID-19. The new release further reinforces the sentiment that the 2020s will be the decade of small satellites, anticipating the launch of close to 14,000 smallsats before 2030.

The main driver for this continued growth during a time where many face pandemic-related challenges is plans for satcom broadband ‘mega-constellations’ and the continuous necessity for replenishment launches. Of all smallsats to be launched, 84 percent are expected to be part of constellations.

The smallsat manufacturing and launch markets are expected to more than triple over the next decade, to $35 billion and $19 billion respectively, driven by the multiplication of constellation projects from both commercial and government stakeholders.

According to Euroconsult, flagship examples of low Earth orbit (LEO) broadband constellations - such as SpaceX's Starlink and Amazon's Kuiper - account for almost half of the projected demand up to 2030.

Euroconsult advises analysts to “go beyond raw numbers” as vertical integration continues to grow with numerous players seeking to manufacture, operate and launch their own smallsats.

It says that significant future market shares are now captive of a region, country or of an integrator and/or launch provider, challenging both commercial satellite integrators and launch providers which see more of their target customers not only leaving their addressable market but also competing with their own services.

The updated report (free extract available) comes with an option to access premium features, including Euroconsult's Smallsat Constellation Database that covers extensive past, current and future data - the first time Euroconsult has ever shared its "secret ingredients" with customers.

Alexandre Najjar, Senior Consultant at Euroconsult stated: "Our smallsat report is once again in high-demand and with major intelligence updates being drawn from post-pandemic data and reviews of key pricing models and satcom application forecasts, plus the inclusion of Space Logistics information that features In-Orbit Servicing, Debris Removal, Last Mile Logistics and In-Orbit Manufacturing, we believe it will be invaluable to key industry stakeholders and investors."

Other updates in ‘Prospects for the Small Satellite Market’ include a reviewed and refined pricing model for manufacturing and launch prices, and a re-balancing of the satellite applications in the database with regard to information, Earth observation and security applications.

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