The Commercial Satellite Imaging Market size is estimated at USD 4.41 billion in 2023, and is expected to reach USD 7.72 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 11.84% during the forecast period (2023-2028).
Images of the Earth taken by imaging satellites run by governments and companies worldwide are known as satellite images, sometimes known as Earth observation imagery, spaceborne photography, or simply satellite photos. Meteorology, oceanography, fisheries, agriculture, biodiversity protection, forestry, landscape, geology, cartography, regional planning, education, intelligence, and warfare are just a few fields where satellite photos are used.
- The imaging method generates raw image data using optically equipped satellites. Since it is closer to the object, aeronautical imaging delivers a higher image resolution than satellite imaging. The most economical and greatest image resolution is provided by terrestrial imaging; however, it has geographical limitations. Because of their quick supply of image data and wide coverage, satellites are favored over other imaging techniques. Additionally, imaging services are economical once they are in orbit, supporting industry growth over time.
- The increasing requirement for efficient monitoring of vast land areas is one of the key drivers for the commercial satellite market. The use of satellite imagery and data can provide detailed and accurate information about land use, vegetation, and other features, which can be used for a wide range of applications such as agriculture, urban planning, natural resource management, and environmental monitoring.
- The rising smart city initiatives are also driving the commercial satellite market. Smart cities use various technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and satellite imagery, to collect and analyze data to improve citizens' quality of life and reduce the environmental impact of urban areas. Satellite imagery plays a key role in smart city initiatives by providing detailed and accurate information about the built environment, such as the location and condition of buildings, roads, and other infrastructure. This information can improve urban planning, transportation, and public services.
- The availability of open-source data for various countries can challenge the commercial satellite imaging market. Open-source data refers to satellite imagery and other freely available data to the public, often provided by government agencies or organizations.
- In the post-COVID-19 market, businesses and government organizations are preparing for an innovation shift since the restrictions are lifted to evaluate and modify their supply chains quickly. For instance, in May 2022, the European Space Agency (ESA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an independent agency of the U.S. Federal Government that is in charge of the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and space research, announced that they had teamed up to use the combined scientific power of their earth-observing satellites to document global changes in the environment and human society.
Commercial Satellite Imaging Market Trends
Military and Defense is Expected to Hold Significant Market Share
- Military and defense applications are the most extensive end-user application of commercial satellite imagery. The segment's expansion is attributed to the security and surveillance activities, which are crucial functions of every defense organization. *Various nations have satellites circling the Earth, providing numerous functions. However, because of the security concerns of other countries, they usually have limited access to international airspace. In extreme circumstances, countries might execute shutter control laws that force satellites of foreign countries in regional airspace to turn off their photographic equipment.
- Considering all these global government prohibitions, other parties often obtain geographical information regarding foreign nations. Governments can regulate the characteristics such as quality and clarity of commercially accessible images and impose a ban on a specific place. However, military agencies always tend to have backup plans.
- Therefore, there is a massive diversity of geographical information that is principally customized to various customers' demands. With changes in satellite imagery (such as hyperspectral imaging), the commercial realm is progressively acquiring data that is only used for military purposes and the data modified for the general public.
- Commercial imaging is vital to meeting the needs of both new security and intelligence concerns. This is due to countries' increased attention to evolving their military capabilities and dealing with terrorism threats worldwide. Commercial satellite firms offer vital data for defense and national security. Commercial aerospace has a substantial economic benefit as space becomes more accessible, but government-funded terrorist monitoring using satellite imagery is too expensive.
- Growing military expenditure and defense budgets in most nations are anticipated to aid the growth of the market under study.
Asia Pacific Expected to Register Fastest Growth
- The Asia-Pacific market is expected to grow considerably throughout the forecast period. Increasing government initiatives for satellite imaging to entice global and domestic firms are other vital reasons for the region's market growth.
- The ASEAN countries' developing commercial satellite business is affecting the worldwide commercial satellite imaging industry. The continuing expansion of High Throughput Satellite (HTS) technology is bringing new possibilities and capabilities in various APAC vertical areas.
- For instance, in May 2022, The SuperView Neo-1 01 and 02 imaging satellites from China Siwei were successfully launched by a Long March rocket. They improved China Siwei's already-existing 50 cm resolution SuperView-1 constellation of satellites and offered 30 cm images to clients needing extra channels of extremely high-resolution imaging.
- The region's end-user verticals are adopting new technologies at an exponentially expanding rate, which is bolstering the growth of the commercial satellite imaging market. Governments across the region are also investing in advanced technologies that are expected to shape the future of imaging satellites.
- For instance, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C-53, or PSLV C-53, of the Indian Space Research Organization, was launched from the Sriharikota, India spaceport carrying three Singaporean commercial satellites. The PSLV Orbital Experimental Module, also known as POEM DS-EO, includes an electro-optic, multi-spectral payload to satisfy the demands of humanitarian aid and disaster relief. This payload will give full-color images for land categorization.
Commercial Satellite Imaging Industry Overview
The commercial satellite imaging market is highly fragmented, with the presence of major players like DigitalGlobe Inc., Galileo Group Inc., Planet Labs Inc., SpaceKnow Inc., and Skylab Analytics. among others. Players in the market are adopting strategies such as partnerships, mergers, innovations, investments, and acquisitions to enhance their product offerings and gain sustainable competitive advantage.
In November 2022, Planet Labs PBC and Microsoft Corp. announced an expanded agreement to support African climate adaptation programs with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and satellite data. Planet Labs PBC is a significant provider of daily Earth data and insights. This technological collaboration supports the formation of a related AI Innovation Council comprised of regional partners and nonprofits, as well as Microsoft's recently announced first global expansion of its AI for Good Labs into Nairobi, Kenya, and Cairo, Egypt. Data scientists in Africa would have access to Planet satellite imagery from all over the African continent as part of this program, which would support projects focusing on early warning systems and climate adaptation, which is the process of adjusting to the current or anticipated effects of climate change. The AI Innovation Council nominated these projects.
In March 2022 - L3Harris Technologies and venture capital firm Shield Capital have formed a strategic partnership to foster emerging defense and commercial technologies that address customers' growing demand for innovative, agile solutions that can be fielded quickly. The agreement gives L3Harris access to disruptive innovators for technology transfer, teaming arrangements, direct investments or potential acquisitions, and partnered contracts. Working with Shield Capital is part of the company's strategy to leverage third-party capabilities and make calculated investments to address customers' most pressing and complex national security challenges.
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