What is the current market size of the nanosatellite and microsatellite market?
The global nano and microsatellite market is expected to value at $4.77 B in 2025 and will grow at a CAGR of 15.8% over the forecast period of 2020 to 2025. The small satellite market is a robust industry with significant R&D efforts and growing interest of world leaders in earth observation and remote sensing. Nano and microsatellites are lighter and easier to deploy compared to their traditional counterparts. Need for micro-systems has manifested into significant cost reductions, the possibility of enabling new functions and improving the performance of existing ones, increases in collected data quality, shorter development times, and controlled risk has led to exponential growth.
Nanosatellite are loosely defined as any satellite weighing less than 10 kilograms. Nanosatellite development is based on cubesat standards guarantees ongoing and relatively inexpensive access to space. Nano-satellites are typically in the range of 1 to 10 kg and microsatellites are within the range of 100 kg. Nano/microsatellites can form the basis for cost-effective, multiple in situ or remote sensing missions for monitoring physical phenomena; for missions enabled via flying a number of satellites in formation; and for a constellation of satellites launched. Nano/microsatellites go through rigorous testing models such as verification testing typically includes vibration and thermal vacuum tests, and in some cases shock, EMI/EMC, and static load tests, to ICD-prescribed levels.
Which are the major factors expected to drive the nanosatellite and microsatellite market?
Increasing nano satellite applications such as analysis for earth observation in the last decade has driven the demand for Nano and microsatellites. As per several reports, the US government has allocated USD 3 billion per annum for civil earth observations and space-related missions in 2019. Large amounts of data collected from Earth observation satellites caters to different application areas such as urban planning, agriculture, water resources, mineral prospecting, forestry, disaster management, and ocean resources.
What are the upcoming industry solutions in the nanosatellite and microsatellite market?
Challenge of new space along with lack of micro-propulsion systems and their cost will hamper market performance over the forecast period. There are many unique challenges that must be met in order to develop Nano or micro-satellite such as light weight low power electronics packaging, radiation hard/tolerant, low power processing platforms, high capacity low power memory systems and radiation hard reconfigurable field programmable gate array (rFPGA). For example, a nano-satellite must sustain 100 krads for a mission lifetime of two years and the assembly must maintain a temperature limit of 273K to 313K.
Increase in space observation programmes, interplanetary missions, systems testing in orbit or biomedical research will drive the Nano market over the forecast period. These programs are a gateway for the development of space programmes in countries that are yet to join the space race. Governments are particularly allocating funds to undertake research and development on satellite projects. Nano satellite companies along with Small satellite companies such as NanoAvionics, together with the Mexican Space Agency (AEM) and students from the University of Atlacomulco will develop the first nanosatellite.
Key satellite manufacture are breaking traditional and barriers and setting up new milestones. For instance, Kepler Communications has selected SpaceX as its partner to launch a portion of its first Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation onboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9. While the commercial sector is making new technological in-roads, the government backed space agencies are diving into the satellite market. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in Nov 2019 have successfully injected into orbit its earth imaging and mapping satellite CARTOSAT-3 along with 13 commercial nanosatellites from the United States.