Astroscale reported on November 25 that it had acquired $109 million from Japanese and European investors in a round that will allow it to expedite plans for active debris cleanup and satellite servicing, according to the company.
The Series F financing was led by Japan’s THE FUND Limited Partnership, with participation from a number of additional investors, such as Seraphim Space Investment Trust in the UK and DNCA Invest Beyond Global Leaders, which is a sub-fund of the Luxembourg-centered DNCA Invest and administered by DNCA Finance in France.
Astroscale has received $300 million in its current round, allowing the company to continue forward with multiple efforts for satellite service and debris removal. Its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) project, which proved the ability to release and capture an item in orbit in August, is one example. Before the end of the year, another demonstration of ELSA-ability d’s to trap a tumbling object is expected.
In a statement, Nobu Okada, founder and CEO of Astroscale, said, “This new round of funding will drastically accelerate our capacity to make on-orbit service regular by 2030.” “It also demonstrates that investors throughout the world see the enormous potential of the burgeoning on-orbit maintenance business, which will transform the future of space.”
“With tens of thousands more satellite launches scheduled in the future years, a long-term sustainable viability of the space industry is becoming ever more crucial,” Mark Boggett, who works as the chief executive officer of Seraphim Space, stated in a statement regarding the funding round. “Regulation, as well as self-regulation to safeguard the space environment, are now well underway. We feel that now is the best time to invest in this burgeoning market, which is expected to be worth billions of dollars in the next decades.”
In addition to ELSA-d, Astroscale has a contract with JAXA for the Active Debris Removal by Astroscale-Japan (ADRAS-J) venture, with an initial stage in development to check a Japanese upper stage in preparation for possibly deorbiting it. In October, the business was awarded a contract by the United Kingdom Space Agency to investigate deorbiting two defunct British spacecraft, including a OneWeb satellite which failed last year. Life Extension In-Orbit is a geostationary satellite servicing technology developed by Astroscale’s US and Israeli offices.
Virgin Orbit and Astroscale formed a partnership on November 17 to look into the possibility of collaborating in the field of space sustainability. Over the next decade, this might include the launch of up to ten Astroscale missions on the Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne, as well as the consideration of a potential collaborative satellite servicing mission. At the time, an Astroscale executive stated that the talks between the 2 firms were still in the early stages, with no concrete deadlines or launch purchases.