The global CubeSat market size was valued at USD 210.1 million in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 857.39 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 15.1% during the forecast period (2022–2030). CubeSats are miniature satellites that are significantly easier to design, develop, and launch than conventional satellites. CubeSats can be designed as single units (1U), double units (2U), or four units (4U), among other configurations, by incorporating various units. CubeSats have significantly revolutionized space exploration by providing a cost-effective solution for launching satellites into space and conducting technology demonstrations, scientific research, and other missions. CubeSats are utilized extensively by commercial businesses, government and military agencies, and non-profit organizations.
A CubeSat is a small satellite with a cubical shape approximately the same size as the famous Rubik's cube and measures 10 cm on each side, and mass is approximately 1 kilogram. CubeSats have been simplifying launching satellites into space for more than a decade. In the field of space exploration, researchers and industry professionals all over the world make extensive use of the CubeSats. CubeSats are an ideal and cost-effective entity for exploring emerging technologies and ideas because of their small size and lightweight, making them quite suitable for rapid manufacturing and testing. Additionally, because of these characteristics, CubeSats can be manufactured relatively quickly.
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Smaller and Lighter than Traditional Satellites to Favor Market Growth
The CubeSat Design Specification (CSD), also known informally as the CubeSat standard, is the document that outlines the characteristics of the nanosatellite class known as CubeSats. CubeSats are produced by standard measurements, in units or U that are 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters. In most cases, each unit weighs less than 1.33 kilograms and is constructed in the shape of a 1U, 2U, 3U, 6U, 12U, or other size configuration. This aids in overcoming the barriers of studying space, and the popularity of CubeSats have skyrocketed since their introduction.
In addition, a CubeSat can be manufactured and placed in orbit depending on the specifications, contributing a negligible amount to the overall costs compared to the costs associated with conventional satellite missions. This is the case because CubeSats are smaller than conventional satellites. The main advantage of CubeSat is the short amount of time that is required to construct one CubeSat. This advantage exists in addition to the benefits associated with the lower weight and size factors. A conventional or large satellite takes between 5 and 15 years to develop and place in orbit, but a CubeSat can be developed and positioned in the desired orbit in less than eight months. This is compared to the time required for a conventional or large satellite. It is anticipated that these factors will drive the growth of the global CubeSat market throughout the forecast period.
Growing Demand in Different Sectors to Positively Share Industry Outlook
CubeSats may be small in size and weight, but this does not diminish the capabilities of the satellites, which are currently used in various commercial applications. Communication and the Internet of Things, geolocation and logistics, and signal monitoring are some examples (SIGINT). The expanding use of CubeSats has paved the way for the increased deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) on a global scale. The number of sensor-driven devices that call for global communications and connections is increasing worldwide. In areas with no land cover, it can be tough to manage the process of locating and monitoring assets such as ships, aircraft, and vehicles, among other things. CubeSat constellations, which are in space and provide access to images from all over the world, can provide access to real-time information regarding various assets located anywhere on earth.
CubeSats have the potential to support existing network technologies by providing solutions for complex logistics administration problems. This provides an advantage in a disaster because they can provide preliminary information regarding the degree of impact and the areas most adversely affected. This enables efficient relief and rescue operations planning, which is a significant advantage.
Technological Advancements to Bolster Market Growth
Due to technological advancements in electronics and communications, the capabilities and usability of CubeSats are increasing, and modern satellites are being developed for new applications such as space mining and debris removal. Regarding space mining, several private corporations have already initiated projects to exploit minerals, energy resources, and water located in outer space. The most advanced CubeSats are designed to enter the Earth's atmosphere as soon as their mission is complete so that they can decompose and not contribute to the accumulation of space debris. Space debris is one of the most significant obstacles to deploying satellites and spacecraft.
Due to the increasing initiatives of the major players, small satellites have ongoing projects to learn how to remove debris. For example, the RemoveDebris project aims to conduct vital active debris removal (ADR) technology tests in search of the most effective methods for cleaning up space debris. The utilization of CubeSats in delivering innovative solutions is anticipated to propel the global CubeSats market during the forecast period.
CubeSat Payload Capacity to Hinder Market Growth
CubeSats are cost-effective solutions increasingly launched into space for commercial and scientific applications. CubeSats are constructed in a shorter amount of time and at a lower cost than conventional satellites, which reduces reliance on deployable structures and complex mechanisms and enables mission disaggregation. The ability of Cubesats to accommodate payloads is one of the primary obstacles to the range of missions they can perform. CubeSats' small size imposes stringent restrictions on the volume of their propulsion, payload, and other subsystems. Higher V (impulse required to perform a maneuver) missions necessitate more fuel, which reduces the volume available for scientific instruments and payloads intended to fly aboard the CubeSat. CubeSats cannot carry critical subsystems necessary for executing complex missions due to a lack of internal volume. CubeSats have low power generation, which is a consequence of their diminutive size. CubeSats are available in multiples of the standard U cube (approximately 4 x 4 x 4 inches). Due to the CubeSats' lack of propulsion system for on-orbit maneuvering, robust attitude determination and control systems, and power generation, the capacities or information that can be acquired are limited.
Rising Demand for Space Data to Boost Market Opportunities
There is no limit to the variety and breadth of services that could potentially be provided by satellites. The demand for satellite services, such as surveillance for military, environmental, or public safety applications, navigation and positioning, tracking vehicles, and telecommunication, is increasing rapidly worldwide. The telecommunications industry, which has been using space for its services for several years and is an essential component of the global infrastructure for communications and commercial and government data transfer and applications, is expected to generate the most significant demand. In addition, the demand for data derived from Earth observations (EO) is growing for various applications. For instance, there is a growing need for data derived from Earth observations in environmental and scientific research and metrology. The need to ensure safety in military operations and money transfer applications drives increased demand for data gathered from space. Throughout the timeframe under consideration, it is anticipated that the growing demand for space data will drive the demand for efficient CubeSats in terms of their cost.
The market segmentation is based on size, application, end-user, subsystem, and region.
Based on the size, the global CubeSats market is segmented into 0.25U to 1U, 1U to 3U, 3U to 6U, 6U to 12U, and 12U and above.
1U to 3U dominates the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.5 during the forecast period. As a result of the requirement for more volume and aperture, 1U to 3U CubeSats are rapidly becoming the first choice for use in space missions by several manufacturers. Compared to a 1U CubeSat, a 3U CubeSat has more than three times the power and greater capacity for communications and pointing. Because of the size of standard mechanisms, connectors, and other components, a 3U has a greater usable volume, and more space is available to deploy panels and antennas with higher packing factors. CubeSats is anticipated to play a significant role in the full-scale deployment of Internet of Things-based services worldwide. In this scenario, several participants are releasing swarms of 0.25U satellites into space.
Based on the application, the global CubeSats market is segmented into Earth observation and traffic monitoring, science and technology, education, space observation, and communication.
Earth observation and traffic monitoring is dominating the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.4% during the forecast period. It is essential to conduct research concerning agriculture, geology, forests, and the environment to better understand the current living conditions on the planet and improve them. Over several years, various CubeSats systems outfitted with various spectral, radiometric, and spatial sensors were successfully launched to fulfill the requirements for Earth observation.
These systems (or constellations) provide real-time information about the Earth's surface, which is helpful for monitoring increased rates of melting ice, frequent forest fires, food production losses, natural disaster damage, and frequent harmful algal blooms. Research and study of the conditions, components, and interactions of the atmosphere and space are increasingly being conducted with the aid of smaller satellites. NASA extensively utilizes CubeSats and other small satellites to conduct scientific research, including fundamental biology and astrobiology studies. The expansion of this market is driven by the government's growing investments in scientific research and experimentation.
Based on end-user, the global CubeSats market is segmented into Government and Military, Commercial, and Non-Profit Organizations.
The commercial sector is dominating the market and is expected to grow with a CAGR of 15.6% during the forecast period. CubeSat adoption in the commercial sector has increased significantly in recent years as the weight of satellite components has decreased, satellite components have become more standardized, and their costs have decreased. Agriculture, forestry, energy, media & entertainment, civil engineering, and archaeology use small satellites in this industry. Small satellites are utilized to obtain space-based Internet, high-resolution imagery of the Earth, and communication services. Planet Labs, a company based in the United States, has 36 small satellites in orbit and provides commercial consumers with high-resolution images. Several companies, including Digital Globe, O3B, and Skybox, provide services such as telecommunications, space-based Internet, and real-time satellite imaging through small satellites.
Based on subsystem, the global CubeSat market has been segmented into payloads, structures, electrical power systems, command and data handling, propulsion systems, and attitude determination & control systems.
The payload CubeSat is the highest contributor and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.8% during the forecast period. CubeSat payloads are essential for space missions. CubeSats can complete the mission they were designed for because of their payloads. CubeSat payloads can include, among others, hyperspectral, multispectral, optical, and panchromatic cameras. Among the available CubeSat propulsion technologies, the electric propulsion systems (EPS) have developed as one of the up-and-coming technologies, with gridded ion thrusters and Hall-type being the most popular of such systems.
The global CubeSat market is segmented into four regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
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North America is the highest revenue contributor to the global CubeSat market and is estimated to reach USD 440.67 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 14.9% during the forecast period. It is anticipated that the presence of a modern structure to carry out space programs and the highest implementation of commercial satellite imaging in various industries in the region will propel the CubeSats market in North America. The rising awareness of the benefits of satellite-based surveillance presents lucrative expansion opportunities for the market in North America.
It is anticipated that the growth of the CubeSat service market in Europe will be boosted by the increasing adoption of satellites for environmental monitoring and the growing demand for small satellites. In addition, the significant production of many small satellites by government space projects in Europe, such as the Copernicus Program, presents significant opportunities for the CubeSat service market in the European region.
The major players in the global CubeSat Market are