Despite supply challenges and lingering inflation concerns, the smallsat market keeps growing in all metrics due to increasing government investments and new commercial entrants, according to Euroconsult.

Around 26,104 smallsats (satellites <500 kg) will be launched between 2023-2032, representing a daily launch mass of 1.5 tons over the 10-year period, the global strategy consulting and market intelligence firm said.

Two constellations alone – Starlink (SpaceX) and GuoWang (China SatNet) – will collectively account for nearly two-thirds of smallsats to be launched throughout the next decade and over four-fifths of smallsat launch mass.

This significant prominence is largely a consequence of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) partial approval of Starlink Gen 2 filings, alongside SpaceX’s launch of 1G satellites on 2G orbital planes and the substantial expansion of GuoWang activities in China.

Smallsat market

However, the two mega-constellations will only represent less than a quarter of market value due to the considerable cost efficiencies of mega-constellations, leaving significant opportunities for other market participants.

Euroconsult’s latest ‘Prospects for the Small Satellite Market’ market intelligence report, now in its 9th edition, anticipates that the smallsat industry will accumulate around $110.5 billion in market value over the next decade, driven by the replenishment cycles of constellations around the world but also by more complex and costly single satellite missions for government users.

Yet the high-volume market keeps presenting several challenges, including limited market addressability for suppliers, difficult profitability, oversupply, and dominance of commercial activities by a handful of established players.

“New constellations are expected to face scope reductions and consolidation, as inflation will keep impacting their materialisation probability, alongside supply chain issues and growing costs or limited availability of semiconductors and raw materials,” said the report’s lead author Alexandre Najjar.

“Nonetheless, smallsats still represent a significant capability-building opportunity for new entrants in the space sector, with the conflict in Ukraine spotlighting the merits and value of commercial satcom and Earth observation smallsat constellations.”
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