The European small satellite market is estimated to register a CAGR of more than 15% during the forecast period.
- Europe has the second-largest public space budget in the world, with numerous active satellite R&D programs and manufacturing facilities spanning different European countries. The increasing budgets for the R&D of innovative satellite-based products and services are propelling the growth of the small satellite industry in Europe.
- The growing demand for low-cost miniaturized satellites for various applications is also driving the growth of the market. The emphasis on small satellite constellations is increasing in Europe, with several planned launches in the pipeline during the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
Nanosatellite Segment Held the Largest Market Share in 2019
In 2019, the nanosatellites segment held the largest share of the market. The segment is also projected to record the highest CAGR during the forecast period, driven by several ongoing projects aimed at developing nanosatellites in Europe. Nanosatellites have masses between 1 kg and 10 kg, and the project lifetime for such satellites is about two to three years, on average. The European Space Agency (ESA) is currently involved in several projects aimed at developing nanosatellites. In April 2019, the ESA set up a dedicated unit for designing nanosatellite-sized CubeSats. The ESA collaborated with several small- and medium-sized European firms for designing such CubeSats for atmospheric reentry measurements, ozone monitoring, and solar radiation studies. Currently, the ESA is developing the M-ARGO Miniaturized – Asteroid Remote Geophysical Observer, a suitcase-sized nanosatellite based on the CubeSat design for asteroid exploration. The ESA is also involved in the development of the Rendezvous Autonomous CubeSats Experiment (RACE), to test out autonomous rendezvous and docking capabilities for two briefcase-sized nanosatellites (CubeSats) and explore the feasibility of conducting missions through a network of the CubeSats scattered around the world at a later stage. Thus, the emphasis on nanosatellite development and deployment is expected to bolster the prospects of the segment in the years to come.
The United Kingdom was the Largest Market for Small Satellites in 2019
The United Kingdom is currently one of the global powerhouses for the small satellite manufacturing industry. The country’s Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd is one of the dominant players in the market, accounting for a significant share in the small satellite market, even at the global stage. The UK Space Agency aims to increase the United Kingdom’s space economy to USD 109 billion by 2030. The country intends to play a key role in the small satellite industry in the years to come. The UK government is currently planning to establish a new National Space Council, a new spaceport for small satellites as part of its space strategy. The UK Space Agency and Cornwall Council have allocated funds worth more than USD 24 million for developing facilities in Spaceport Cornwall, which may enable the launch of small satellites from Cornwall by 2020. In addition, the country plans to invest about USD 34 million in creating a constellation of small, low orbiting satellites to beam live high-resolution video to air force pilots and provide enhanced battle awareness. The small satellite constellation is called Team Artemis, which is a Royal Air Force initiative. This initiative is part of a transatlantic collaboration to launch the constellation and undertake research into the wider military uses of small satellites. The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force partnered with Virgin Orbit in July 2019, in order to facilitate the launch of small satellites from the wing of a customized B747-400 aircraft. Such developments are expected to help the growth of the market in the country during the forecast period.
Thales Alenia Space, GomSpace Group AB, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, AAC Clyde Space, and EnduroSat are some of the prominent players in the market. The competition in the market is increasing. In addition to the small satellite manufacturers for commercial uses, several universities, government agencies, and militaries are launching their own satellites, thereby, increasing the competition in the market. Technological advancements, in terms of electronic components and advanced material technologies, like 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, are likely to assist the manufacturers in developing advanced small satellites with multi-mission capabilities in the future.
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