Astroscale, Space Debris Removal Firm Acquires Major Investment

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Astroscale’s Series D Round enabled the company to raise US$ 50 million for enhancing technology demonstration satellites 

Astroscale, a company focused on developing technologies to capture and deorbit space debris announced on October 31, 2018 that it raised a US$ 50 million Series D round. The company has raised a total of US$ 102 million until now. The company is headquartered in Singapore and has its main research and development offices in Tokyo. In a statement, the company stated that its new round was led by Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) with participation from several other Japanese investors such as SBI Investment Company Ltd. and Mitsubishi Estate Company Ltd. INCJ stated that it was contributing around US$ 35 million in new funding, of which US$ 25.5 million was offered during the round.

Astroscale plans to use the funding to support the development of a technology demonstration satellite called ELSA-d and other major projects. That spacecraft is scheduled for launch in early 2020 on a Soyuz rocket and will be laced with ‘target’ and ‘chaser’ satellites to demonstrate rendezvous and proximity operations. The U.K-based smallsat developer Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. is developing the target spacecraft under a contract announced in November 2017. The funding will also be directed toward enhancing the company’s operations center established in the U.K in 2017. The center controls engineering, procurement, and business development segments of the company. According to Astroscale’s statement, the company plans to establish an office in the U.S in 2019.

The company founded in 2013 has raised four rounds of funding, which includes a US$ 25 million Series C round in July 2017. IDEA OSG, the company’s first satellite, which is a technology demonstration smallsat was intended to measure the density of orbital debris that are too small to track from the ground. However, the spacecraft was lost in a Soyuz launch failure in November 2017. The funding round is a major indication of increasing preference of Japanese investors in entrepreneurial space companies.

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