JAXA Selects Kibo Small Satellite Deployment Service Providers

Japanese KIBO module

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — On February 23, 2018, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) made an announcement to the private sector that it would compare proposals and select service providers capable of providing small satellite deployment services from Kibo on the International Space Station. And after carefully evaluating the proposals, JAXA has selected Space BD Inc. and MITSUI & CO., LTD. as the service providers.

In line with the second version of the “Kibo Utilization Strategy” adopted in August 2017, JAXA intends to promote the private sector’s autonomic activities in the module (private sector participation). These two companies were selected as service providers for small satellite deployment activities in the first phase of the strategy.

In 2012, JAXA developed the Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) for assuming unique small satellite missions utilizing two advantageous technologies–the Robot Arm and Airlock of Kibo on the ISS. As of the end of May 2018, JAXA has successfully deployed more than 200 small satellites from Kibo, including deployment opportunities for the United States as well.

The market of small satellites is expected to further expand globally. JAXA has to date provided fee-based services on its own. JAXA expects that companies Space BD Inc. and MITSUI & CO., LTD. will provide unique services based on their original private entity ideas to both domestic and international markets, and thus further expand the demand for small satellite deployment. As a result, the utilization of Kibo and low Earth orbits will also increase.