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Integrated Standard Imager for Earth Observation Microsatellites

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - iSIM (Integrated Standard Imager for Earth Observation Microsatellites)

Reporting period: 2015-12-01 to 2016-04-30

The Earth Observation micro satellites (10-100 kg) demand is growing dramatically, fueled by an Earth Observation (EO) data services demand that will double in the same period. However, traditional High Resolution Earth Observation cameras are still considered turn-key projects with prices and delivery times out of reach for most small satellites developers.
iSIM is a compact high-resolution binocular camera for Earth-Observation microsatellites that provides an increasing sensing capacity and on-board processing, for a fraction of the cost of today’s Earth Observation instruments and shorter delivery times.
This project aims to accelerate the launch of the iSIM payload in the small satellite based Earth Observation market to exploit a €47 million business opportunity (2022).
During the last 5 months the SATLANTIS team has worked on an analysis of the technical, commercial and financial aspects required to assess iSIM´s viability. Main results:

The ISIM product development has continued during Phase I improving substantially its competitiveness. In addition, a technical feasibility analysis including a detailed planning for Phase II has been implemented.

The Commercial Feasibility analysis has confirmed that iSIM is a disruptive product, because it provides the best spatial resolution for multispectral optical imaging of the market, and is very competitive in terms of compactness, flexibility and cost. In addition, this analysis has confirmed a Freedom-to-operate for ISIM technology.
This analysis has identified an addressable market of over 200 units for the next 6 years. However, we have confirmed that in orbit validation is necessary to have access to most potential customers.

Another key finding is that EO technology/products and data services markets are not only connected but deeply interrelated. The increasing demand of EO services, and the shift of public customers from purchasing satellite technologies to services, is transforming the industry with most key players selling technology products AND Earth Observation services.

Therefore, the project will include the in-orbit validation of iSIM in the first half of 2018, with a microsatellite based on a commercial platform. In addition, the Earth Observation data services business line has been added as a second step of the company strategic plan.

The financial feasibility study has confirmed that the commercialization of iSIM can become a very profitable business that can achieve break-even point in less than 30 months.

Finally, a technical and commercial risks analysis with the measures proposed to mitigate them has been drafted at the end this feasibility study.
The competitive analysis has confirmed that ISIM is truly a disruptive product, because it combines the best multispectral spatial resolution of the market with a compact size and low mass enabling the usage of 50 kg microsatellite platforms. These platforms can be between three and ten times less expensive than minisatellites (100-500 kg).

We estimate that the sale of ISIM payloads combined with Earth Observation data services will generate a turnover of about 47 M€ by year 6. The overall Internal Rate of Return (IRR) will be 67% with a Net Present Value of 68 M€. The company will increase its team to 45 full time employees by year 6.