Astroscale, a Singapore- / Tokyo-based startup developing satellites to remove space debris from Earth’s orbit, announced on Friday that it has fundraised $25 million in a series C round. Japanese venture investment company aStart, ANA Holdings (TSE:9202), Japanese cutting tool manufacturer OSG (TSE:6136), Japanese government-backed investment fund Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), Jafco as well as Mitsubishi UFJ Capital participated in this round. INCJ, Jafco and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital have participated in the past rounds. Astroscale claims that it will use the funds to expand the operations of their UK subsidiary and strengthen their management team
For Astroscale, this follows their $7.7 million series A round funding and $35 million series B round funding. Among the new joined investors, Astroscale has received sponsorship from OSG to start developing a a space debris detection satellite called IDEA OSG 1 in 2015. Astroscale plans to launch IDEA OSG 1 in early 2018 followed by magnet-based space debris removal satellite prototype ELSA-d in the first half of 2019. The company aims to start commercializing the business in 2020.Astroscale ELSA-d Image credit: Astroscale
Astroscale claims that it expects ANA to share their knowledge about safety flight operations and control as well as OSG to provide tools for producing satellites. In terms of ANA’s investments in space related businesses, this is the second case following the one in Japanese spaceflight developer startup PD Aerospace (about $180,000) back in December 2016. ANA launched their in-house R&D initiative Digital Design Lab in April of 2016 aiming to promote innovations in their group with aiming to expand themselves beyond the aerospace business, also running a crowdfunding site called WonderFLY.