Are optical imaging small satellites in the EO market a disruptive technology?

Silvia Rodriguez-Donaire, Miquel Sureda, Miriam Nieto, Daniel Garcia-Almiñana, Candia Muñoz, Jose S. Perez, Peter Roberts, Jonathan Becedas, Nicholas Crisp, Vitor Toshiyuki Abrao Oiko, Steve Edmondson, Stephen Worrall, Sarah Haigh, Katharine Smith, Rachel Lyons, Sabrina Livadiotti, Claire Huyton, Luciana Sinpetru, Dhiren Kataria, Rosa M. DomínguezDavid González, Georg H. Herdrich, Francesco Romano, Tilman Binder, Adam Boxberger, Stefanos Fasoulas, Constantin Traub, Yung-An, Ronald Outlaw, Leonardo Ghizoni, Victor Jungnell, Kristian Bay, Jonas Morsbøl, Rachel Villain, Alexis Conte, Badia Belkouchi, Ameli Schwalber, Barbara Heißerer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


After decades of traditional space businesses, the space paradigm is changing. Conventional projects based on customization, large budgets, extended time framework, and requesting huge amounts of resources are no longer feasible in the new space market. New approaches to more efficient missions in terms of costs, design and manufacturing processes are fostered. For instance, placing big constellations of micro and nano-satellites in Low and Very Low Earth Orbits (LEO and VLEO) enablethe space community to obtain a huge amount of data in near real-time with an unprecedented temporal resolution (Denis et al. 2017) . Beyond technology innovations, there are other drivers that promote the innovation in the space sector like the increasing demand of Earth Observation (EO) data by the commercial sector. Euroconsult report (2018) stated that the EO industry is the second market in terms of operative satellites (661 units), being micro and nano-satellites the higher share of them (61%). Technological and market drivers encourage the emergence of new start-ups in the space environment like Skybox, OneWeb, Telesat, Planet, OpenCosmos, among others, with novel business models that change the accessibility, affordability, ownership and commercialization of space products and services. This paper shows some results of the H2020 project DISCOVERER, and focuses on understanding how micro and nano-satellites have been disrupting the EO market in front of traditional platforms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpanish Small Satellites International Forum
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Mar 2019
EventSpanish Small Satellites International Forum - Malaga, Spain
Duration: 7 Mar 20198 Mar 2019


ConferenceSpanish Small Satellites International Forum


  • Disruptive innovation
  • low-end market
  • micro and nano-satellites
  • New Space
  • Earth Observation

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • National Graphene Institute


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