Commercial Space Products and Services
Collectively, land-imaging satellites—which are also known as Earth observation or remote sensing satellites—are systems used to observe, monitor, and track changes and developments on the Earth’s surface using a variety of optical or electronic imaging capabilities. Earth observation satellites may be distinguished from each other on the basis of spatial resolution—the level of detail their images are capable of recording. Another distinction is the sensor type, such as optical cameras, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), or various types of infrared and electronic imaging.
Earth observation revenue in 2011 is estimated to total $## billion, #% more than the $## billion generated in 2010. Revenues within the Earth observation sector are generated by data sales and value-added services.
Earth observation revenue in 2010 totaled $## billion, #% more than the $## billion estimated by market research firm NSR in 2009. Revenues within the Earth observation sector are generated by data sales and value-added services (VAS). Value-added services include new products and services created from existing raw satellite data. According to NSR, the Earth observation market has grown due to demand by civil government and military organizations for applications in the fields of defense, intelligence, surveillance, and security as well as environment and climate change.
Earth observation systems provide a diverse array of satellite data and value-added imagery products to government and industry. This information helps organizations understand climate change, promote national security, assist in the management of natural resources, and support infrastructure construction and maintenance. As the cost of land imagery decreases, satellite operators are increasingly shifting toward integrated imagery and data services to differentiate and add value for clients. This trend is expected to continue as new satellite operators enter the market and as automated data interpretation, integration, and web-based hosting systems mature.
Broadly defined, the Earth observation market includes revenues from applications as varied as weather forecasting, intelligence-gathering, highway inspections, climate change studies, and commercial uses in agriculture, fishing, mining, construction, and public health. Based on BCC Research revenue data, the estimated total global expenditure for this overall satellite-based Earth observation market in 2008 was $## billion, a #% increase from $## billion in 2007. Weather forecasting and intelligence-gathering applications experienced the highest growth rates, approximately #% and #%, respectively.