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Report: ‘2020s decade of smallsats’

April 9, 2021

Specialist satellite consulting and research firm Euroconsult forecasts further growth in the global supply and demand of government, commercial and academic satellites weighing up to 500 kg.

The latest update of the  Prospects for the Small Satellite Market report, now in its seventh  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 per cent are expected to be part of constellations.

Furthermore, the smallsat manufacturing and launch market are set to do 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. Euroconsult’s findings have been released at a time when launch rates are at least on par with 2020, suggesting that the era of the mega-constellation has truly arrived. 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 over 2021-2030.

Euroconsult recommends going beyond raw numbers as vertical integration keeps growing with numerous players seeking to manufacture, operate and launch their own smallsats. “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,” it advises, suggesting, that the smallsat market is, however, more open to procurement from third parties at the subsystem level than at the satellite level.

“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 this report will be invaluable to key industry stakeholders and investors,” stated Alexandre Najjar, Senior Consultant at Euroconsult. “A plethora of new market insights include the mitigation of concerns around the impact of Covid-19 in our previous edition by an increased availability of capital for the space sector, most notably with the recent M&A and SPAC funding trend.”


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