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LEO Satellite constellations: Transforming industries and lives in the new space era

Patrice Duboé
22 June 2023

The start of a new era in space exploration is set to revolutionize industries across the globe. Once limited to more static roles, satellites are poised to actively reshape every aspect of our lives. This paradigm shift holds the potential to revolutionize various industries and drive innovation to unprecedented heights.

The 54th Annual Paris Air Show is an opportunity for those in our industry to reflect on the future in light of New Space developments. This time promises transformative changes that will shape the future of industries and pave the way for a more interconnected and technologically advanced world.

From high bandwidth to ubiquitous connectivity

We’ve worked hard to achieve 5G capabilities, and this innovation continues to drive digital transformation. When we speak about telecommunications, however, the ability to connect objectshas the same value as downloading a gigabyte at high speeds.

The shift from high bandwidth to connected objects empowered by Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellations has redefined the concept of connectivity itself. It has opened up a world of possibilities where anything can be connected anywhere at a remarkably low price.

Connected objects can now leverage satellite connectivity to transmit and receive data, enabling various applications and services. This shift has unlocked immense value across industries as these capabilities become more accessible.

One of the remarkable aspects of this connectivity revolution is the affordability it offers. With satellite constellations, the cost of connectivity has drastically decreased – it’s not uncommon for satellite-enabled connectivity to cost only $5-$15 per month. This affordability has democratized access to accurate, real-time data across industries and geography. Areas once considered difficult, or even impossible, to send data from can now transmit information in near real-time. For example, a pipeline in the desert, vulnerable to attack or malfunction, can now be monitored 24/7 for details on everything from pressure to heat levels.

Previously isolated areas can now be connected, enabling economic growth, knowledge sharing, and innovation. Industries can leverage satellite constellations to improve operational efficiency, enhance decision-making, and drive transformative changes. The ability to connect anything anywhere has become a catalyst for innovation and progress, with endless possibilities waiting to be explored.

Scalability, affordability, and speed: how LEO satellites are revolutionizing industries

The emergence of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites has ushered in a new era of innovation, transforming the way we view and utilize satellite technology. LEO satellites offer several advantages over traditional geostationary satellites, leading to reduced costs, increased accessibility, and unparalleled scalability. This paradigm shift holds the potential to revolutionize various industries and drive innovation to unprecedented heights. The global market for LEO satellites is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.2%, increasing from $3.50 billion in 2021 to $4.13 billion in 2022, according to TBRC Business Research.

LEO satellites orbit much closer to Earth than their geostationary counterparts, typically at a distance of around 400 kilometers instead of the previous geostationary standard of 36,000 kilometers. This proximity offers several benefits, including reduced latency and improved data transmission speeds. LEO satellites enable near real-time communication and data transfer, empowering industries to make faster, more informed decisions.

One of the most significant advantages of LEO satellites is the dramatic reduction in costs associated with their creation and launch. In the past, satellite development and deployment required substantial investments, often reaching hundreds of millions of dollars.  In the past, traditional satellites weighed more than one ton and needed hundreds of millions of dollars to create and launch. However, with technological advancements, satellites can now be much smaller and lighter, weighing just a few dozen kilograms, like nano satellites for example. This reduction in size and cost has made it possible to create and launch satellites for as little as $300k. To see just how much the price of a launch has changed over the years, look at this fascinating chart that tracks the cost of LEO launches from 1961-2019. This cost reduction has made satellite deployment more accessible to a broader range of organizations, from startups to established enterprises, fostering innovation across industries.  

LEO satellites also offer unmatched scalability, enabling the launch of large constellations consisting of numerous interconnected satellites. For example, SpaceX has successfully deployed 143 satellites in a single launch. Industries can leverage these constellations to gather extensive data, monitor remote locations, and facilitate global connectivity.

Real-world examples of satellite-enabled connectivity at work

With reduced costs, improved accessibility, and scalability, LEO satellites have the power to revolutionize many sectors. Here are some examples :[1] 

  • Oil and Gas: By leveraging satellite information, companies can gain valuable insights into potential reserves, track infrastructure integrity, and optimize their operations for improved efficiency and safety.
  • Agriculture: Real-time data enables farmers to make informed decisions regarding irrigation, fertilization, and pest control, leading to increased productivity, reduced waste, and sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Insurance: Satellite-enabled insights can enhance risk assessment and management. Insurers can leverage real-time data to assess the impact of natural disasters, monitor properties remotely, and provide accurate coverage based on up-to-date information. This helps streamline claims processes and improve customer satisfaction.
  • Automotive: The automotive sector is embracing satellite connectivity to revolutionize navigation systems and enable vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Real-time satellite data enhances navigation accuracy, provides traffic updates, and allows smart routing for efficient transportation. Additionally, vehicle-to-vehicle communication facilitated by satellites enhances road safety and enables advanced features like collision avoidance and cooperative driving.
  • Aviation  –   LEO satellites contribute to reducing CO2 emissions and improving fuel efficiency. Advanced satellite communication systems facilitate real-time monitoring of aircraft performance, optimizing flight paths and reducing unnecessary fuel consumption. This results in significant reductions in carbon emissions, estimated to be as high as 10 million tonnes per year, contributing to a more sustainable aviation industry.

Implications on digital sovereignty and geopolitics

The new era in aerospace and satellite-enabled connectivity can significantly shape geopolitical events.

In times of conflict, telecommunication networks are often targeted, leaving people without essential means of communication. The Ukraine war is a prime example, where telecommunications and power infrastructure were destroyed, hindering the country’s internet connectivity. However, satellite-based internet services such as Starlink have provided a lifeline for affected populations, enabling them to connect to the outside world despite adversities. As detailed in this report, an internet space race is underway, where nations seek to launch their own constellations of LEO satellites to establish digital sovereignty in an increasingly interconnected world. In fact, the European Union is launching its own satellite constellation, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a reason to push for digital independence.

The pursuit of digital sovereignty also allows nations to reduce their dependence on foreign telecommunication networks. By establishing their own satellite constellations and infrastructure, countries can assert greater control over their communication channels, reducing the vulnerability of their networks to potential disruptions or foreign interference.

Satellite-based services facilitate connectivity during conflicts but also play a crucial role in providing communication channels during natural disasters. Satellite networks offer reliable and resilient means of communication, allowing first responders, relief organizations, and authorities to coordinate rescue operations and disseminate critical information. Also, families can reunite when they can get in contact quickly and easily without relying on more unreliable channels.

Satellites equipped with advanced imaging and sensing technologies can also provide invaluable data for remote sensing and monitoring natural disasters. Satellite imagery helps identify affected areas, assess the extent of damage, and support disaster response planning. Real-time data can be used to track weather patterns, monitor flood levels, and detect other environmental factors that contribute to disaster preparedness and response.


While the Artemis launch is no doubt exciting for our industry, it is the broader emergence of  LEO satellites and their transformative impact on everyday life that truly holds immense potential. This new era of satellite-enabled connectivity is transforming industries, shaping geopolitics, and revolutionizing the way we do business.

I’m excited to share more insights on this topic at our chalet for the Paris Air Show. I hope to see you there! 

Capgemini at Paris Air Show 2023

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