Emergence of CubeSats Intensifies Competition between Behemoths and Startups in Commercial Satellite Imaging Market

Press Release   •   Jun 05, 2017 08:58 EDT

With advancements in high-resolution imagery technology and the shrinking size of commercial satellites, the global market for commercial satellite imaging is experiencing intense competition between market giants such as DigitalGlobe Inc. and a few of the startups with high potential. At present, the market is witnessing the evolution of a number of smaller satellites, also called CubeSats, mostly operated by startup enterprises such as Dauria Aerospace, PlanetiQ, Planet Labs Inc., and Skybox Imaging Inc.

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CubeSats have emerged as a major trend in the space industry, offering high-resolution satellite images, albeit at low costs of production, launching, and operations. In order to compete with these startups, established companies will also need to enter into this segment by offering better image quality at much lower costs in the near future.

Increase in Commercial Space Economy Boosts Demand for Commercial Satellite Imaging Technology

As various governments across the world have increased their expenditure in space programs, the worldwide commercial space economy is gaining significant traction at present. Advanced technologies have been incorporated in commercial satellite imaging, which has encouraged a number of industries to employ satellite imaging technology in order to expand their business activities to the new world.

Apart from this, the increased demand for high-resolution satellite imagery in homeland security agencies, emergency services, national defense organizations, and environmental protection and national development authorities, worldwide, is anticipated to escalate the demand for commercial satellite imaging remarkably during the forecast period. The widening range of the application of commercial imaging satellites is also expected to drive their demand in the coming years.

According to TMR, the opportunity in the global market for commercial satellite imaging was worth US$2.5 bn in 2014. Expanding at a CAGR of 11.40% during the period from 2015 to 2023, it is likely to reach US$6.5 bn by the end of the forecast period.

Demand for Commercial Satellite Imaging to Increase at Highest Rate in Latin America, North America Remains Market Leader

North America has emerged as the leading regional market for commercial satellite imaging across the world. In 2014, it held nearly 45% of the total revenue generated in the global market. “A robust technological base and high funding by the governments have provided a strong foothold to the commercial satellite imaging market in this region,” says an analyst at TMR. The regional market is projected to remain the biggest contributor to the overall revenue throughout the forecast period.

On the other hand, the demand for commercial satellite imaging equipment is expected to expand at the highest rate in Latin America over the forecast period. The steady growth in the agricultural and industrial sectors in this region is anticipated to augment the need for these devices in the coming years.

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The defense and intelligence sector has surfaced as the biggest application area for commercial satellite imaging over the last few years and is projected to remain the leading one during the forecast period. Similarly, the government sector has reported the highest utilization of these devices, globally, in the recent past and is expected to continue to hold the dominant share among end users.

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