Abuja, 9 December 2022. – Astroscale Japan Inc., a subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), a satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability Company, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have started concept co-creation activities for a satellite refueling service under the JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation (J-SPARC). The aim is to explore concepts for a fuel delivery service for one year toward realizing space sustainability. The mission concept will be to provide a refueling service on orbit to satellites that are both ready or otherwise for refueling.
“On-orbit services are the sustainable infrastructure of the space economy,” said Miki Ito, Managing Director of Astroscale Japan. “Over the past few years, awareness of the orbital environment and space sustainability has increased rapidly, and the demand for such services has grown significantly. We are glad to be working with JAXA on refueling as a function of life extension, and by 2030, we plan to be able to make on-orbit services, including life extension, a routine basic infrastructure service.”
Astroscale Japan will study the feasibility of satellite refueling services and consider international collaboration with other Astroscale subsidiaries and partners. Furthermore, they will apply the rendezvous and proximity operations technology that the End-of-Life Services by Astroscale – demonstration (ELSA-d) mission demonstrated. Likewise, Astroscale Japan will leverage the robot arm and hand technology currently under development for the refueling work. In addition, JAXA will study the technical feasibility of an on-orbit refueling system, examine ground test equipment for fuel transfer evaluation, and provide technical knowledge and advice based on the studies.
“On-orbit satellite refueling is a new service that overcomes the longevity factor of fuel depletion and enables satellite operations to continue for a longer period of time,” said Hiroyuki Sugita, Director of Research Unit II at JAXA’s Research and Development Directorate. “We expect that providing JAXA’s knowledge of refueling technology will advance the private sector’s space projects and contribute to the realization of sustainable space activities.”