The North American CubeSat market size was valued at USD 82 million in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 442 million by 2031, registering a CAGR of 10.9% during the forecast period (2022-2031).
A CubeSat is a compact satellite with a cubical shape that measures 10x10x10 cm3 - roughly the size of the popular Rubik's cube - and weighs approximately 1 kg. A CubeSat can be utilized as a single unit (1 U) or in groups of multiple units (1U, 2U, 3U, 6U, and 12U, among others). Since more than a decade ago, CubeSats have facilitated space launches. Cost-effective solutions have simplified the launch of missions into low-Earth orbit for commercial companies, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions. These miniaturized satellites enable several scientific studies and technology demonstrations to be conducted in space cost-effectively, timely, and relatively simply.
CubeSats are extensively utilized by researchers and experts worldwide for space exploration. CubeSats' small and lightweight dimensions suit them for rapid production and testing, making them an ideal and inexpensive tool for exploring emerging technologies and concepts.
Comparatively less expensive than conventional satellites, nanosatellites possess the same or comparable capabilities. According to our estimates, traditional satellites can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, whereas a CubeSat can be constructed for approximately USD 100,000 and launched for many of the same missions as traditional satellites. A CubeSat-sized nanosat could cost between USD 150,000 and USD 1 million, the launch included, compared to USD 200 million to USD 1 billion for a full-sized satellite.
Additionally, nanosatellites are easier to construct. Due to their minimal cost and less stringent regulations, they can be constructed more quickly. In low-Earth orbit, nanosatellites typically have a lifecycle of no more than a couple of years before reentering the atmosphere and combusting. This reduces the need for risk management during the construction and launch phases.
Small satellites in lower earth orbit (LEO), such as CubeSat, are increasingly utilized by nations to advance their capabilities. CubeSats are smaller than their Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) counterparts, allowing for more launch options and cheaper deployment. Small satellite companies seek cost-effective methods for large-scale production, such as low-cost passives, to assist military forces in meeting this demand within a reasonable budget. In addition, the constellation is anticipated to include approximately 20 CubeSats with sensors and monitoring apparatus. The primary objective is to detect radio signals and frequencies so that aircraft and ship movements can be monitored from above.
The launch cost of a CubeSat is an entirely distinct matter, where total costs can increase significantly. The cost of launching a CubeSat depends on whether it is launched as part of a dedicated mission or as part of a ride-share. Moreover, the average market price of a dedicated launch varies based on the satellite's mass. Putting a satellite into low Earth orbit costs approximately USD 30,000 (approximately EUR 23,700) per kilogram.
In addition, launching the rocket itself incurs substantial expenses. The average cost of a NASA launch has been estimated at USD 152 million. These expenses are predominantly due to fuel, with liquid hydrogen propellants costing approximately USD 376,000 per kilogram.
NASA announced a new round of opportunities for CubeSat developers, including educational institutions, through the agency's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) to conduct scientific investigations and technology demonstrations in space and contribute to the agency's exploration objectives.
Small satellites, such as CubeSat, play a significant role in the agency's educational, scientific, and technological endeavors, such as planetary exploration, Earth observation, and fundamental Earth and space science. Laser communications, satellite-to-satellite communications, and autonomous movement are fundamental to developing cutting-edge NASA technologies.
Small satellites with more intelligent and compact subsystems are replacing the need for large satellites and related infrastructure. Commercial satellite operators deploy smallsat constellations in LEO to provide global coverage with minimal latency. Small satellites are increasingly positioned in LEO constellations for earth observation (EO) and remote sensing to produce superior insights for comparable motives. Satellite entrepreneurs advance this trend through mass production, rocket ride-sharing with other missions, modular commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, and standardized satellite buses. Satellite operators and proprietors can also reduce costs by vertically integrating satellite production.
The spectrum and scope of services that satellites could provide are limitless. The global demand for satellite services, such as surveillance for military, environmental, or public safety applications, navigation and positioning, vehicle tracking, and telecommunication, is developing rapidly. The telecommunications industry, which has utilized space for its services for several years and is a crucial component of the global infrastructure for communications, commercial & government data transmission, and applications, is expected to generate the most demand.
The North America CubeSat market is segmented based on size and application.
By size, the market is categorized into 0.25U to 1U, 1 to 3U, 3U to 6U, 6U to 12U, and 12U and above.
The 1 to 3U segment dominates the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.6% during the forecast period.
The market is further segmented by application into Earth Observation and Traffic Monitoring, Science, Technology and Education, Space Observation, and Communication.
Earth Observation and Traffic Monitoring dominated the market and is expected to register a CAGR of 10.4% over the forecast period.
The North American CubeSat market is segmented based on the country into the U.S., and Canada. The U.S. dominates the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.9% during the forecast period.
North America's increased spending in space-related activities gave the region a 77% revenue share of the nanosatellite and microsatellite market in 2022. For example, each year, NASA sets aside a certain sum of money to fund space-related endeavors, including research, aviation, technology, exploration, and other operations. Additionally, the regional market has been bolstered by rising demand for small satellites from various end-user sectors, including research institutions, the military and defense sector, and the telecommunications industry.
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