Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites Market is Segmented by Mass (Less than 100 kg and Above 100 kg), End User (Civil and Commercial and Military), Application (Communication, Earth Observation and Remote Sensing, and Other Applications), and Geography (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of the World). The report offers market size and forecasts for all the above segments in value (USD billion).

Market Snapshot

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites Market Size
Study Period: 2018-2027
Base Year: 2021
Largest Market: North America
CAGR: >12 %
Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites Market Major Players

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Market Overview

The low earth orbit (LEO) satellites market is expected to record a CAGR of more than 12% during the forecast period 2022-2027.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the economic activities of countries around the world and the manufacturing of satellites, subsystems, and components. Although satellite systems are critically important, disruptions in the supply chain impacted their manufacturing processes for some duration. As satellite launches follow a strict timeline, a few ongoing programs faced delays during their execution.

LEO satellites are being increasingly used in commercial applications. Factors such as the miniaturization of satellites, the growing connectivity of electronic devices, and the increasing demand for low earth orbit satellite constellations across industries contribute to the growth of the LEO satellite market. For instance, in February 2022, SpaceX launched 49 Starlink satellites from NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. These satellites will augment the existing constellation of 1700+ LEO satellites to provide faster satellite internet.

The evolution of the LEO satellite ecosystem and market is affected directly or indirectly by the policies implemented by governments at both the national and international levels. As of now, there is no comprehensive global or domestic system of on-orbit regulation, and there are no regulations related to on-orbit activities such as rendezvous and proximity operations, Space Situational Awareness, or RF mapping. Nevertheless, there are regulations applicable to launches and re-entries of satellites in the spectrum and remote sensing in the United States. However, operators have expressed an interest in developing regulations that would make investing more secure. Still, there are concerns about excessive regulations that might force companies to relocate from one country to another.

LEO satellites have become increasingly relevant in space optical communications due to recent advancements in laser beam pointing technology. Furthermore, the recent development of power-sharing alternatives (such as wireless optical technologies), which can provide the power needed for data communications at high rates, has expanded the growth prospects for the LEO satellite industry.

Scope of the Report

LEO satellites orbit between 2,000 and 200 kilometers above the earth. The market has been segmented by mass, application, end user, and geography. Based on mass, the market is divided into less than 100 kg and above 100 kg. The use of LEO satellites by the civil and commercial and military sectors is included in the study. By application, the market is segmented further into communication, earth observation and remote sensing, and other applications.

The report provides the market size and forecast for all the above segments and also by region. Market size and forecast are represented by value (USD billion).

Less than 100 kg
Above 100 kg
End User
Civil and Commercial
Earth Observation and Remote Sensing
Other Applications
North America
Rest of World

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Key Market Trends

Growing Focus of Military Sector on Low Earth Orbit Satellites

The concept of using hundreds of small satellites spread out across low earth orbit to perform communications, missile warning, and other military missions has been discussed for years but has often been dismissed due to the immense launch cost projections; and size, weight, and power constraints required to operate and maintain capabilities in low earth orbit. With the rapid technological advancements in the commercial sector in the past few years, the military sector is now considering launching satellites in low earth orbit. Countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, India, France, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and China are all significantly investing in military satellites with a major focus on low earth orbit for various applications. The US Defense Department, for decades, has relied on geosynchronous (GEO) communications satellites stationed 36,000 kilometers above the equator. Military users are looking for low-latency, broadband services from OneWeb, SpaceX, Telesat, and Amazon that promise to connect the world via thousands of satellites in much lower orbits than traditional comsats. The US Space Force is laying the groundwork for DoD to start acquiring services from commercial LEO Satcom providers that are now entering the market and from future constellations that have not yet been deployed. Likewise, the United Kingdom has also recently announced plans to invest GBP 1.4 billion (USD 1.9 billion) in new low Earth orbit satellites and other space-related military technologies over the next ten years. It is expected that a large portion of the multibillion-dollar investment will go toward the development of a multi-satellite system for improved global surveillance and intelligence support for the military. Such developments will boost the revenue generated from the military segment during the forecast period.

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites Market Share

The United States and China Together Accounted for a Major Revenue Share

The United States and China are two giants in the space sector, along with Russia, that are competing against each other in developing new satellite technologies as well as exploring new possibilities to launch LEO satellites. In the low earth orbit satellites market, the United States dominates the market by end user as it launched several satellites in low earth orbit in 2021, which included communication, earth observation, technology demonstration, and resupply satellites for ISS. On the other hand, China has focused more on reconnaissance and earth observation LEO satellites. In November 2021, China launched the first set of three satellites for a new series of classified Yaogan reconnaissance satellites. The satellites are now orbiting at roughly 310 miles (500 kilometers) above the Earth, with an inclination of 35 degrees, like many earlier Yaogan series satellites, but at a lower altitude. The “A” and “B” satellites were developed by Aerospace Dongfanghong Satellite Co. Ltd under the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), while the "C" satellite was developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (CAST). Both CAST and SAST belong to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), China’s leading state-owned space contractor. China is also planning to establish a mega constellation, dubbed the “Guowang.” The constellation is designed to complement satellite-based internet services. It is speculated that up to 13,000 satellites will be launched for the project. Earlier in 2020, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), a state-owned company, announced its ambition to complete the Xingyun project, an 80-satellite LEO narrowband Internet of Things constellation, by 2025. Such plans will further drive the growth of the LEO satellites in these countries during the forecast period.

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites Market Report

Competitive Landscape

LEO satellites are a disruptive technology with the potential to revolutionize connectivity and the overall satellite communication market. The race to deploy LEO satellite constellations is increasingly competitive and will require multi-stakeholder cooperation to deliver inclusive connectivity. Some of the prominent players in the LEO satellites market are Planet Labs Inc., Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (Airbus SE), Blue Canyon Technologies Inc., and Northrop Grumman Corporation. With more than a third of the world still offline, LEO satellite constellations can help connect the unconnected and bridge the digital divide. The European Union recently announced plans for an LEO satellite system worth EUR 6 billion. The European Union is entering a space internet race with technology giants spending billions of dollars on LEO satellite technology. The competition is fierce as more governments and companies explore the potential of LEO satellite technology to provide high-speed internet across the world. Innovation through research and competitive pricing will help satellite manufacturers tap into this high potential market during the forecast period.

Recent Developments

· In March 2022, SpaceX successfully launched 47 Starlink satellites in LEO for better satellite internet connectivity. This launch was SpaceX’s ninth of a planned 52 launches this year. These 47 Starlink satellites have now joined 2,000-plus others in the program’s first-generation constellation orbiting Earth, providing high-speed, low-latency Internet across the globe, even in remote regions.

· In August 2021, OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company backed by Bharti Group, announced the launch of 34 satellites by Arianespace from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan. This launch brought the company's total in-orbit constellation to 288 satellites. The satellites would form part of OneWeb's 648 LEO satellite fleet that aims to deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.

Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions and Market Definition

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study



    1. 3.1 Market Size and Forecast, Global, 2018 - 2027

    2. 3.2 Market Share by Mass, 2021

    3. 3.3 Market Share by End User, 2021

    4. 3.4 Market Share by Application, 2021

    5. 3.5 Market Share by Geography, 2021

    6. 3.6 Structure of the Market and Key Participants


    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Market Drivers

    3. 4.3 Market Restraints

    4. 4.4 Industry Attractiveness - Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.4.1 Threat of New Entrants

      2. 4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers

      3. 4.4.3 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      4. 4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products

      5. 4.4.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry

  5. 5. MARKET SEGMENTATION (Market Size and Forecast by Value - USD billion, 2018-2027)

    1. 5.1 Mass

      1. 5.1.1 Less than 100 kg

      2. 5.1.2 Above 100 kg

    2. 5.2 End User

      1. 5.2.1 Civil and Commercial

      2. 5.2.2 Military

    3. 5.3 Application

      1. 5.3.1 Communication

      2. 5.3.2 Earth Observation and Remote Sensing

      3. 5.3.3 Other Applications

    4. 5.4 Geography

      1. 5.4.1 North America

      2. 5.4.2 Europe

      3. 5.4.3 Asia-Pacific

      4. 5.4.4 Rest of World


    1. 6.1 Vendor Market Share

    2. 6.2 Company Profiles

      1. 6.2.1 Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

      2. 6.2.2 L3Harris Technologies Inc.

      3. 6.2.3 Thales Alenia Space

      4. 6.2.4 Spire Global Inc.

      5. 6.2.5 Planet Labs Inc.

      6. 6.2.6 Northrop Grumman Corporation

      7. 6.2.7 GomSpace Group AB

      8. 6.2.8 Sierra Nevada Corporation

      9. 6.2.9 Blue Canyon Technologies Inc.

      10. 6.2.10 Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd

      11. 6.2.11 Millennium Space Systems Inc. (The Boeing Company)

      12. 6.2.12 Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (Airbus SE)

      13. 6.2.13 Lockheed Martin Corporation

      14. 6.2.14 Blue Origin


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Frequently Asked Questions

The Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites Market market is studied from 2018 - 2027.

The Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites Market is growing at a CAGR of >12% over the next 5 years.

North America holds highest share in 2021.

Planet Labs Inc., Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (Airbus SE), Blue Canyon Technologies Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation are the major companies operating in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites Market.

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