Credit: Jilin Provincial Government

By 2030, there will be an estimated 11,631 launch demands for new constellation installations and replacement missions, which could take the market past the $62 billion mark.

That projection comes from the London-based Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, “Small-satellite Launch Services Market, Quarterly Update Q1 2018, Forecast to 2030.”

Launch demand

The evolution of small satellites from technology demonstrators to providers of low-cost operational services across distributed industry segments is attracting launch demand from organizations all over the world.

Credit: OneWeb

As the lifespan of these satellites is between two years and five years, there will be constant launch demand and participants will look to enhance their systems and infrastructure.

Business model

Observes Vivek Suresh Prasad, the group’s Space Industry Principal, Aerospace & Defense:

“While North American and European companies will be the leading developers of flexible, dedicated launch vehicles, players in Asia-Pacific are looking to follow suit,” he said in a press statement. “Many players are also analyzing the feasibility of the small-satellite spaceport business model to provide dedicated launch services to small-satellite operators.”

Rideshare insufficient

According to a Frost & Sullivan statement:

“The high volume of launch demand for small satellites is driving satellite operators to increase their launch capacity. The current rideshare capacity is insufficient to meet the upcoming launch demand.  Most small satellites use the rideshare capacity as a secondary payload on existing launches. This makes their project schedule and mission requirements dependent on the primary payload. Many incumbent and emerging commercial operators are preparing for the impending capacity expansion by providing dedicated services and launch flexibility to small-satellite operators.”

Credit: Planet

Production challenges

Once the unit shipment needs are met, the market could grow impressively. Some key numbers are outlined below:

— The total projected launch capacity supply, including the success of multiple dedicated planned launch services, is 11,640 small satellites.

— In this case, a total payload mass of 2,473 tons can be potentially launched.

— Small satellites in the mass segments of 0 to 15 Kilograms and 150 to 500 Kg could account for as much as 65 percent of the small-satellite launch demand. Thirty-two small-satellite commercial operators will generate more than 90% of the launch demand.

“The key to resolving production challenges is to standardize, optimize and deploy low-rate serial production lines for small satellites and the launch hardware for the relevant launch vehicles,” added Vivek.

For further information on this analysis, please contact jacqui.holmes@frost.com

One Response to “Small Satellites: Big Growth Projection”

  • Paul Geyer says:

    Although the movie “Gravity” was an extreme case or orbital debris, we need a treaty NOW that requires all new satellites to have a deorbit capability when their usefull life is finished. Already the ISS has had many alerts for debris causing the crew to shelter in the Soyuz. If nothing is done then oneday the “swiss cheese” effect will happen and it will be too late for finger pointing.

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