Northern Sky Research

The Bottom Line

  • LEO constellations, theoretically, benefit from economies of scale which, in simple terms, is the cost saving associated with the increased level of production. The advantages come in the form of discounts for bulk orders and higher production volume as a result of specialized resources - human and otherwise, to name a few. While the benefits from standardized production have been well substantiated, it is crucial to recognize the point where the variable costs start to outweigh the…

  • The Earth Observation (EO) market has been in constant evolution and recently, it has transitioned from costly, large EO satellites to smaller, more nimble ones flying as part of constellations. Using many small satellites is enabling real-time earth monitoring and observation, and with this, increasingly large amounts of data are being produced every day. Additionally, medium resolution imaging (1 m. to 5 m.) is abundant, and its price relatively low and declining.

    This combination of…

  •  As the technological prowess of satellite component and prime manufacturers has developed over the past half century, satellites have increased not only in capabilities but in longevity. A satellite launched in the 1990s was designed to operate for an average 12 years, a life expectancy that by the 2000s increased to 15 years. Many continue to operate for 18 years or more, but 15 remains the prevailing design life. Yet with operators seeking new strategies in today’s challenging…