[Excerpt] The exponential growth of the global market for small satellites with a launch mass below 500 kilograms over the last decade is due in part to a small initial market size. The smallsat market experienced a 23% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2009 to 2018. Even greater expansion is expected between 2019 and 2024.
In 2018, 322 small satellites were launched globally through 44 launches. For the second year in a row, the number of smallsats launched was above the 300 units-per-year threshold, i.e twice more than the 160-per-year average identified between 2013 and 2017. Smallsats accounted for 69% of the satellites launched last year in number of satellites but only 4% of the total mass launched (i.e 372 tons). Last year, 50% of the demand was driven by the U.S., with more than 100 of those smallsats belonging to commercial companies. Technology demonstration was the main application.