Space Commerce

Executive Summary – Small Satellite Market Update 2023-2035; Emerging Trends, Opportunities, and Key Players

By Joe Reagan
August 4, 2023
Filed under , ,
Executive Summary – Small Satellite Market Update 2023-2035; Emerging Trends, Opportunities, and Key Players
SmallSats in orbit.
Image credit: NASA.

The Purpose of the NewSpace Global (NSG) 2023 SmallSat Report (the “Report”) is to provide a financially-focused market overview of the small satellite (“SmallSat”) subvertical. This report, slated to be released at the end of August, seeks to highlight opportunities for investors in this critical sector of the NewSpace economy while also educating readers about emerging trends in the SmallSat ecosystem. While SmallSats continue to play an indispensable role in the broader space economy, NSG analysts see two areas where SmallSats will see growth over the next 10 years. Companies working to leverage SmallSats for on-orbit servicing, and space traffic management will see demand for services rise as the need to maintain safe navigation in space will become increasingly important.

The space domain has seen an unprecedented surge in satellite deployments over the past decade. With more than 4,000 operational satellites on orbit, the concern for space debris and potential collisions has escalated. While spacecraft like The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Aeolus spacecraft are able to use onboard fuel to deliberately deorbit, at any given time there are around 2,000 uncontrolled spacecraft in orbit. Last year, the FCC adopted a new rule requiring satellites be deorbited within five years of being decommissioned. While the rule is in conflict with NASA’s standards of practice, its enforcement will begin in the fall of 2024. Given the expense of maintaining a fuel reserve for end-of-life deorbit small satellites could be used to execute a planned deorbiting as a service. 

As the number of satellites and other commercial space activities increases, having tools to manage space traffic will be increasingly important. Government agencies, like NASA, the FCC, and The US Space Force will likely need to invest heavily in technologies that preserve and enable freedom of navigation in space. While there are larger platforms aiming to conduct similar missions, SmallSats are an efficient and economical way to prevent congested orbits and reduce the need for operations satellites to conduct orbital maneuvers in order to avoid uncontrolled debris. Swarm technology enhances the efficiency of these types of operations, as swarms of SmallSats could be placed on orbit ahead of larger satellites and effectively “sweep” a clear path for the principal mission satellite. 

One of the cutting-edge applications of small satellites is their role in supporting on-orbit servicing of other satellites. With the ever-increasing population of satellites in space, on-orbit servicing is becoming increasingly crucial for ensuring the sustainability and longevity of our space assets. The cost savings and extended life space on satellites resulting from on-orbit servicing could drastically extend the lifespan of existing satellites while also reducing the risk of damage during launch. Considering the nearly $700 million cost to service the Hubble Telescope, SmallSats would drastically reduce both the cost and risk associated with a similar mission.  In July of 2023, Viasat’s stock took a major hit due to its disclosure that its Viasat-3 mission was damaged beyond repair during its initial launch. Leveraging SmallSat technology or on-orbit servicing in cases similar to the Viasat example would decrease risk while also offering an opportunity to extend the lifespan of larger platforms. 

The SmallSat industry continues to make major advancements driving innovation and reducing barriers to space. As a whole the market is poised for significant growth over the next decade driven by public and private investment. While this initial report is focused only on a small subset of the SmallSat industry, our comprehensive report will detail leaders in various sub-sectors, advanced concepts, and emerging technologies, as well as ongoing commercial ventures that are showing promise. Our report will also outline near-term growth of the market and upcoming missions and use cases that will highlight the economic potential of the SmallSat industry.

Individuals or organizations interested in reserving an advanced copy of the report should contact the NewSpace Global team at or visit us at

Do you have a compelling story or new product you’ll present at this year’s Small Satellite Conference? If so contact Doug Messier, Staff Journalist and Editor, who will be there for the full conference. Also attending will be Luke Stahmer our new Vice President, Business Development. Contact Luke to for a 1-on-1 to discuss your business and the opportunities we have to work with you.

joe reagan

Joe Reagan is the President of NewSpace Global, the global leader in data analysis and coverage of the NewSpace industry. NewSpace Global is a Multiverse Media Inc company.