Astroscale Raises $76 Million, Including Manufacturing Deal with Mitsubishi Electric
Astroscale raised $76 million in its Series G round, with funding from new investors Mitsubishi Electric, Yusaku Maezawa, Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, Mitsubishi Corporation, Development Bank of Japan, and FEL Corporation. Alongside the investment from Mitsubishi Electric, Astroscale and the company agreed to jointly develop and manufacture satellite buses for Japanese national security constellations.
Astroscale, which is working to commercialize space debris removal, has now raised $376 million since it was founded. This follows its Series F round, closed in November 2021 with $109 million. CEO and Founder Nobu Okada said this funding is a vote of confidence from investors in Astroscale.
“On-orbit servicing is a necessary infrastructure for a sustainable and growing space economy, and the key to reducing risk and increasing returns for satellite operators,” Okada said. “We are on a mission to make on-orbit servicing routine by 2030, and these funds will significantly contribute to further innovative technology development, global expansion and increased capacity to meet the growing demand.”
Yusaku Maezawa, the first Japanese civilian to visit the International Space Station, invested $23 million in the round. Maezawa spent 12 days on the ISS in December 2021, and is now preparing for the lunar tourism dearMoon mission, in which he will lead a crew of nine on the first civilian mission to fly around the Moon on a SpaceX Starship rocket.
In the deal with Mitsubishi Electric, the companies said the jointly developed satellite buses will be equipped with an Astroscale docking plate for future in-orbit servicing. This allows other spacecraft to dock with and move or remove satellites.
Mitsubishi Electric is ramping up its spacecraft manufacturing capabilities and opened a satellite production facility in February 2020. Since then, the company has developed a laser communications terminal and technology that allows for 3D printing satellite antennas in space.
“Mitsubishi Electric is working to promote the use of space in the security sector, which strongly connects with Astroscale’s efforts to build a sustainable space economy for future generations,” said Masahiko Arai, general manager of the Defense Systems Division of Mitsubishi Electric. “We are excited to invest in Astroscale and looking forward to cooperate and merge our collective expertise in supporting their business strategy and development of innovative technologies.”