NASA's PhoneSat. Credit: NASA

NASA’s PhoneSat. Credit: NASA

Small satellites are growing… in popularity and utility.

That’s the message from a new study looking into trends and projections for the nano/microsatellite market.

The new assessment comes from SpaceWorks of Atlanta, Georgia and the study projects that more than 400 nano/micro satellites will need launches annually in the year 2020 and beyond.

SpaceWorks is currently tracking 650 future (2014 – 2016) nano/microsatellites with masses between 1 kilogram and 50 kilograms in various stages of planning or development.

“Small satellites continue to grow in popularity, as is evident by the sizable number of nano/microsatellites launched in 2013,” stated Elizabeth Buchen, Director of SpaceWorks’ Engineering Economics Group. “Our assessment confirms that the market is continuing its growth phase, which will remain in the coming years, especially in the commercial sector,” she said in a company press statement.

Commercial sector influence

Analysis of development trends by sector show that the civil sector (including academic) remains strong.

However, the commercial sector is growing significantly and will continue to influence the nano/microsatellite market.

Analysis of trends by purpose suggests that applications for nano/microsatellites are diversifying, with increased use in the future for Earth observation and remote sensing missions.

Projection database

Other study conclusions include:

– The nano/microsatellite market is growing tremendously with the continued use of the CubeSat standard, microelectronics and other technology development, government programs, and furthering of applications.

– Projections based on both announced and anticipated plans of developers indicate 2,000 – 2,750 nano/microsatellites will require a launch from 2014 through 2020.

– SpaceWorks’ Projection Dataset shows average growth of 23.8% per year over the next 6 years (2014 – 2020).

– Based on the announced launch data alone, 2014 will see a 52% increase in nano/microsatellites launched compared to 2013.

– Commercial companies will contribute over one-fourth of all nano/microsatellites launched in 2014.

NOTE: For more information from the SpaceWorks assessment, go to:


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