Erstwhile space launch missions were primarily restricted to countries such as the U.S. and Russia. However, with the increasing demand for small satellite constellations for remote sensing and communication in developing nations, government as well as private institutes are developing technical expertise, launch vehicles, and other required facilities to launch these operations. With more than 3,000 small satellites (such as nano, pico, and micro) launches planned, the space industry is at the crescent of a revolution.
According to a market intelligence report published by BIS Research, titled Global Small Launch Vehicle (SLV) Market – Analysis and Forecast (2018 – 2028), the market generated a revenue of $341.2 million in 2017 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30.51% from 2018 to 2028 to reach $6979.9 million by 2028. In terms of volume, 11 launches were conducted using SLVs for over 100 satellites by 2017, and the number is anticipated to reach 410 by the end of 2028. The trend indicates that the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 37.48% in terms of volume from 2018 to 2028.
The increasing demand for small satellites for applications such as remote sensing and earth observation, the proliferation of small satellite constellations, and significant investments made by large-scale organizations are the major factors behind the growth of the market. Alternatively, reduction in the cost of launching small launch vehicles and development of dedicated and low-cost launching site for SLVs are two vital challenges inhibiting the growth of the market. However, there are certain avenues which act as great opportunities for the market, including certain nations developing their own low-cost launching sites and the advancement in 3D printing technology for the development of components for the small launch vehicles.
Based on the report by BIS Research, for the purpose of study, the market is segmented into payload range, end user, and region. The SLV market by payload range is further sub-segmented into less than 20 Kg payload, 21 to 150 Kg, 151 to 500 Kg, 501 to 1200 Kg, and 1201 to 2200 Kg. In 2017, 1201 kg – 2,200 kg payload range contributed maximum to the SLV market, in terms of value and volume. However, 501 to 1200 Kg payload range is projected to contribute the maximum to the SLV market by 2028.
Based on the segmentation by end user, the market is sub-segmented into government, commercial, academic, defense, and non-profit organization sectors. In 2017, the government sector contributed maximum to the end user market, in terms of value and volume. However, based on future predictions, the commercial sector is expected to lead the market by 2028.
Lastly, on the basis of segmentation by region, Asia-Pacific accounted for the maximum share of the market in 2017, however, North America is expected to register the maximum growth during the forecast period. The increasing investment by government-based space organizations in countries such as Japan, North Korea, India, and China are further expected to aid the region in maintaining its dominance in future.