The first attempt at engaging in earth observation dates back to the year 1957, when the satellite Sputnik1 was launched. Sputnik1 was developed by the Soviet Union and communicated signals which were received on Earth. Since then, a number of satellites have been developed and launched by leading countries such as the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K., Japan, and India with improved resolutions, a wider range of applications, and more advanced technologies.
Earth science, meteorology, radar and infrared imaging, and optical imaging are some of the purposes which the earth observation satellites cater to. Over the years, the invention and introduction of innovative technologies in the aerospace industry have been a key factor in the development of advanced earth observation satellites.
For instance, BlackSky and Planet Labs are the two prominent companies which have developed compact design satellites having large apertures of the telescope. This small size of the satellite helps them to repoint in different directions easily and quickly.
Market Value and Estimation
Advancements in technology, is the leading factor contributing to the growth of the earth observation satellites, data and service market. The demand for versatility and global coverage have gradually propelled the extensive developments in electronics such as functional sensors from multi cameras, imaging with sub-meter resolution, and hyperspectral imaging sensors to enhance the imaging of earth.
Additionally, the wide array of applications across several industries along with the increase in funds and investments from governments and research organizations are also leveraging the growth of the earth observation satellites market.
As per a latest market intelligence report published by BIS Research titled “Global Earth Observation Satellite, Data and Service Market – Analysis and Forecast (2018 - 2023),” the earth observation satellite, data and service market was valued at $7.73 billion in 2017 and owing to vital factors mentioned in the report, it is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 9.10% during the forecast period, 2018 – 2023 and reach $11.08 billion by 2023.
Applications and End-User Industries
The data and images generated through earth observation satellites are used by several end users such as government and defense sector, forestry and fishery, energy and natural resources, archeology, agriculture, and civil infrastructure for a broad range of applications. Based on the report by BIS Research, on the basis of applications, the market constitutes data acquisition and mapping, sustainable development and environment management, disaster management, security and surveillance, and location-based services.
During the forecast period, location-based services as an application are projected to witness the highest growth owing to the introduction of wireless communication and computing technologies and their integration with positioning technology and spatial data. Moreover, sustainable development and environment management as an application, is expected to generate the largest revenue during the forecast period and continue its dominance in the market as in 2017.
Key Market Players
Together, established companies, start-ups, and government agencies are actively investing in the market to fulfill the rising demand for earth observation satellites, globally. Individually, these entities are undertaking approaches and strategies to expand their business and compete in the market. The most adopted business strategy has been product launches and collaborations. At present, the earth observation satellites, data and service market constitute 35 satellite manufacturing companies, 15 EO data service, and 300 EO VAS companies. Some of the prominent players venturing in the market include Airbus SAS, BlackSky Global LLC, Lockheed Martin Corporation, MDA Corporation, DigitalGlobe, and Satellogic.
Future growth opportunities such as the incorporation of artificial intelligence and machine learning for processing data received via earth observation satellites and the development of reusable launch vehicles and advanced propulsion systems are expected to further boost the growth of the earth observation satellite, data and service market.