The nanosatellite and microsatellite market encompasses several applications, such as communication, earth observation and remote sensing, scientific research, biological experiments, academic training, reconnaissance, amongst others. Typical users include defense, intelligence, civil, commercial, and/or government. Continuous advancements in the miniaturization of technologies, such as electronics, low-mission costs, and the increasing use of satellite constellations, are major drivers of the market.
Nanosatellites and microsatellites have brought novel opportunities for earth observation and remote sensing using inexpensive small satellites to capture images of the earth and gather specific data. Such satellites are expected to play a major role in remote sensing missions due to their enhanced computational and communication capabilities, along with competencies in making decisions about the time and data to be shared. Successful programs to develop and examine advanced hyperspectral imaging systems compatible with nanosatellite and microsatellite missions enable small satellites to generate high-quality complex images.
The geospatial technology using earth-imaging small satellites for agriculture, education, intelligence navigation, mapping, and other uses, has driven the commercial sector in the past decade. Nanosatellites or microsatellites help commercial companies gather global real-time data and distribute the same at lower prices to customers across a wide geographic area. Nanosatellites and microsatellites are also used for commercial purposes, such as communication, in the form of voice, data, and videos, internet communication, and video chat. Between 2013 and 2017, almost half the nanosatellites were launched for military or civil missions and the remaining half for business purposes.