Companies in the Satellite Ecosystem

September 2, 2020

The small satellite industry ecosystem has expanded greatly throughout the last decade which makes it a bit tough to keep track of all the options out there for various capabilities. Here I attempt to catalog the various companies operating across bus manufacturing, launch, ground infrastructure, and ground software.

Introduction

I've recently started working with Orbital Sidekick to help develop a hyperspectral imaging system to be deployed and operated via small satellites in LEO for energy asset monitoring. While OSK is focused on the design & build of our payload, we're not interested in manufacturing spacecraft and want to leverage all the commercial space infrastructure possible to get our sensors into space and operational. To that end, I've surveyed the industry for commercial solutions to:

  • satellite bus manufacturing
  • small satellite launch capability
  • ground segment infrastructure for data downlink & handling
  • ground software capabilities for mission operations

This post catalogs all the various options I've found so far, and could hopefully be helpful to others looking for similar information.

Satellite Buses

Companies who design, manufacture, and integrate satellite buses are presented below:

Company (with links)CountrySatellite Classes
Blue CanyonUSA3U, 6U, 12U, Microsat
Loft OrbitalUSACustom Multi-Payload
TyvakUSA6U, 12U, Microsat
Astro DigitalUSA6U, 16U, Microsat
York SpaceUSAMicrosat
LeoStellaUSAMicrosat
Surrey Satellite TechnologyUK12U, Microsat, Minisat
Berlin Space TechnologiesGermanyMicrosat
OHBGermany/SwedenMicrosat
Sierra Nevada CorpUSAMicrosat
AxelspaceJapanMicrosat
Firefly (OTV)USA3rd Stage
Millennium Space SystemsUSAMicrosat
NanoAvionicsLithuania3U, 6U, 12U, 16U
GomSpaceDenmark1U, 2U, 3U, 6U
General AtomicsUSA
Pumpkin SpaceUSA1U, 3U
ISISNetherlands1U, 3U, 6U
In-Space MissionsUK12U
Adcol Maryland AerospaceUSA12U, Microsat
L3HarrisUSAMicrosat
EnduroSatBulgaria1U, 3U, 6U
Rocket Labs (Photon)USAMicrosat
MaxarUSAMicrosat
MoogUSA
Space Flight LaboratoryCanada3U, 6U, 12U, Microsat
Magellan AerospaceCanadaMicrosat
SITAELItalyMicrosat
Sequoia SpaceColumbia2U, 3U, 6U
SpireUSA3U
BoeingUSACustom
Lockheed MartinUSACustom
Northrup GrummanUSACustom
AirbusEuropeCustom
ThalesFranceCustom
OneWeb SatellitesUSAMicrosat
SpaceQuestUSA3U, Microsat

Launch Service Providers

Companies who provide launch services for both large and small satellites are:

Company (with link)Category
C6 LaunchCubesats
ABL Space SystemsSmallSats
ArianespaceEverything
AstraCubeSats
ProtolaunchSmallSats
Aevum SpaceCubeSats
Aphelion OrbitalsCubeSats
ARCA
Blue OriginEverything
ExolaunchBroker/Integrator
FireflySmallSats
Gilmour SpaceBoth
GlavkosmosEverything
AntrixSmallSat/Cubesats
ILSEverything
ISILaunchAggregator
LauncherSmallSat/Cubesats
LEO AerospaceCubesats
Maverick SpaceBroker/Integrator
NanoRacksBroker/Integrator
Northrup GrummanEverything
OrbexSmallSats
RelativitySmallSats
Rocket LabBoth
SkyroraBoth
SpaceflightBroker/Integrator
Space OneCubesats
SpaceXEverything
SpinLaunchSmallSats
ULAEverything
Virgin OrbitBoth
PangeaCubesats
TZeroBroker/Integrator
SEOPSBroker/Integrator

Ground Infrastructure

Companies handling the actual antenna, data pipes, and associated infrastructure to get data down from space (with links):

Ground Software

Software the mission ops team can use to fly & control the satellites (with links):