Astroscale, a Singapore-headquartered space debris removal startup with offices in Japan and the UK, has just received US$50 million in its Series D round of funding.
The round was led by Japan’s INCJ Ltd., and included funds operated by SBI Investment Co., Ltd (SBII) and Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd (Mitsubishi Estate) among others. This is the fourth round of funding raised by Astroscale, bringing the total amount of capital investment to US$102m.
According to Astroscale, the additional funding will be used to boost productivity in its development and design work in Japan, upgrade and expanding ground control center operations as well as engineering, procurement and business development capabilities in the UK, and establishing an entity in the US in 2019.
“This latest round of funding represents a strong vote of confidence in Astroscale’s mission and will allow us to accelerate our position as the global market-leader in the field of debris removal,” said Astroscale’s Founder and CEO Nobu Okada.
Mikihide Katsumata, President and COO of INCJ, remarked, “INCJ acknowledges the significant role that Astroscale plays as driver of technology development and a catalyst to domestic and international governments, space agencies, and private companies to address the issue of space debris. INCJ continues to support Astroscale and we hope they will find a solution to the threat of space debris, which is a potential bottleneck to the development of a vibrant space industry.”
“Mitsubishi Estate is happy to announce its support of Astroscale as it tries to solve the issue of space debris,” said Tetsuji Arimori, Representative Corporate Executive Officer, Executive Vice President of Mitsubishi Estate. “As the discussion of regulatory frameworks about space development and utilization are increasing at an unprecedented rate, we see the potential for global collaboration. Space debris is an international issue that could prevent utilization of space and negatively impact the development of space-related industries.”
Astroscale is currently working on its first debris capture demonstration mission, End of Life Services by Astroscale – demonstration (ELSA-d), which is scheduled to launch in early 2020. ELSA-d will consist of two spacecraft, a Chaser and a Target, stacked together. The Chaser will repeatedly release and capture the Target in a series of demonstrations that will prove the technology necessary for debris removal, including rendezvous & docking and proximity operations.