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The nanosatellite and microsatellite market has witnessed a considerable growth in the recent past. The market is mainly driven by factors such as introduction of CubeSat standard by the U.S. based National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA), advancement in microelectronics technology, the increase in satellite launch manifesting capacity at global level, government initiatives, and rising commercial applications of satellite services. In 2014, nearly two third of the total satellite launched had masses less than 50 kg. The CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) of National Aeronautics and Space Administration has introduced the inexpensive versions of nanosatellite and microsatellite auxiliary payloads services. Currently under CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI), nanosatellite and microsatellite can be launched at a cost of $100,000. CubeSat launch initiative is not restricted for the lower Earth orbital. In 2016, NASA is planning to launch 6U CubeSat for Mars orbital.
Average satellites launched per year has grown more than twofold in 2014 as compared to the average per year satellite launches between 2011 and 2013. Moreover, the average mass of the satellites has also declined significantly during the last few years. In 2014, the average mass of a satellite was 30% less than average mass of satellite in 2013.
Based on the various solutions provided by nanosatellite and microsatellite, the global nanosatellite and microsatellite market can be segmented as hardware, software and data processing, and launch services. On the basis of mass of the satellite, the nanosatellite and microsatellite market can be broadly classified in the ranges 1kg-10kg, and 10.1 kg to 100kg. Based on various applications, the nanosatellite and microsatellite market can be segmented as earth observation and remote sensing, communication, reconnaissance, academic training, technology demonstration and verification, biological experiments, and scientific research. On the basis of industry verticals, the global nanosatellite and microsatellite market can be broadly classified as commercial, civil, government, and defense and intelligence.
The commercial sector was the largest application market of nanosatellite and microsatellite in 2014. Commercial nanosatellite and microsatellites are widely used for the imagery and data services under public domain. Civil application of nanosatellite and microsatellite is expected to be one of the most promising segments during the forecast period.
North America was the largest nanosatellite and microsatellite market in 2014, followed by Europe. The market dominance of North America is attributed to the launch of CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) in the region. Based on data sets released by the U.S. government, North America is also expected to be the fastest growing regional market for next five years. The major future nanosatellite and microsatellite program includes, NSF Geospace & Atmospheric CubeSat, NASA EDSN, F6, SeeMe and ALASA payloads, NRO Colony I & II, and QB50. European nanosatellite and microsatellite market was dominated by Russia, holds the majority of the global satellite launched in 2014; The U.K. is other major market in the region. Asia Pacific nanosatellite and microsatellite market is driven by China, India and Japan. Considerable market penetration is expected from the ongoing research and development in space science in the developing countries such as India and China. Development of navigation and communication satellites for the offshore defense (naval defense) is expected to boost the nanosatellite and microsatellite market during the forecast period.
Several new companies announced their entrance in nanosatellite and microsatellite launchers including Rocket Lab, Firefly Space Systems, CubeCab, and bloostar. Some of the competitors in the nanosatellite and microsatellite market are Surrey Satellite Technologies Limited, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Ruag, Raytheon, Planet Labs, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Gomspace, Geooptics, and Clyde Space.