Cape Canaveral — Small satellites used for observing conditions on Earth are the fastest growing segment of the $260.5bn global satellite industry, the US-based Satellite Industries Association said in an annual report released on Tuesday. Small satellites, some no bigger than a shoe box, generated an 11% jump in annual revenue for Earth imagery in 2016 and a growing share of the 1,459 operating spacecraft that circled the planet at the end of the year, the report said. The orbital fleet includes 499 satellites that weigh up to 600kg, many of them used for Earth observation and remote sensing, said Carissa Christensen, CEO of Bryce Technology and Space, which wrote the report for the trade association. Satellite services, including home television, broadband and Earth observation services, collectively generated $127.7bn of revenue in 2016, the biggest single piece of the industry, according to the report. Satellites used for earth imagery accounted for just $2bn of the total indust...

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