Microsat developer Axelspace moves into components business

Photo of about-to-launch GRUS satellites, courtesy of Axelspace

Japanese space startup Axelspace, which has developed 5 microsatellites to date, has announced it will be developing critical components to prepare for the mass production of next-generation microsatellites. This initiative aims to lower cost and shorten the delivery time of satellites.

In addition to its satellites, the company will now develop 2 different on-board components, together with partner companies, funded by a grant received by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

These components are:

Membrane Deployment Deorbit Mechanism

In collaboration with Sakase Adtech Co., Ltd., Axelspace will work on a membrane deployment deorbit mechanism to accelerate the speed of lowering the orbital altitude. This will help tackle the problem of space debris, and will be used on Axelspace’s satellites to help them re-enter the atmosphere and disintegrate before reaching the ground. This project has been selected by Japan’s space agency JAXA to be demonstrated on the satellite “Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration-3,” third in a series of demonstration satellites to test new technologies.

Reaction Wheel

Axelspace will develop a new reaction wheel in partnership with Shinano Kenshi Co., Ltd., to address the need for “diversification of suppliers of reaction wheel for microsatellites..as there are challenges with the cost and delivery time, in addition to the short supply as the vendors are limited.” This reaction wheel will be used on its GRUS satellites for precision attitude control.

Axelspace says it is ready to launch 4 more microsatellites in the near future, all part of its GRUS earth observation constellation, and that manufacturing has been completed. The company is now waiting for a viable launch window, and the satellites will be launched aboard Russia’s Soyuz-2. Theses satellites will accompany GRUS-1A, which was launched in December 2018 and is currently operational.

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