Small satellites for remote sensing – how is a small satellite characterized, what is the basis for it and what are the trends, how can small satellite missions be achieved, what are the cost drivers and what the application areas. The paper gives some insights in related facts and trends. The requirements concerning GSD and revisit time for the manifold application areas indicate the wide range of application for small satellites. By means of the fire monitoring micro-satellite BIRD one design approach is exemplified. For disas-ter monitoring applications trends are given concerning the ground, programme and space segments are given.