GITAI, JAXA Start Business Concept Co-creation Activities for World’s First Space Work Robot Business

Translated from Japanese with Google Translate

TOKYO (JAXA/GITAI PR) — GITAI Japan Co., Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will identify tasks that require robotics in outer space, and robots that perform these tasks. Aiming to acquire technology and provide services by robots, we will start business concept co-creation activities under the JAXA Space Innovation Partnership and and Co-creation (J-SPARC) initiative.

At the International Space Station (ISS), GITAI will be the first private company in the world to demonstrate the technology of autonomous and automated activities for specific tasks using its own robots. 

JAXA will support its activities through technical cooperation and aim to acquire new knowledge about space robots. In addition, GITAI and JAXA will continue to consider new services provided by space robots in anticipation of the activities of the ISS and beyond.

GITAI has built a simulated field of the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module in-house to promote development and verification in order to realize autonomy and automation of specific tasks related to operation, maintenance, scientific experiment work, etc. on the ISS.

Then, in 2021, in collaboration with Nanoracks of the United States, we will demonstrate the technology of general-purpose work (various switches, cable operations, panel assembly, etc.) by GITAI robots on board the Bishop airlock on the ISS. Bishop is a commercial airlock module developed by Nanoracks.

We will do it first. Then, we will consider new services that utilize this technology demonstration data for future space missions such as the lunar orbiting crewed base (Gateway) and the Artemis program, and missions such as remote medical care and disaster relief on the ground.

Sho Nakanose, President and CEO of GITAI. commented:

We are very pleased that this co-creation will further promote the technological demonstration and commercialization of space work robots.

In the space industry to date, many private companies have tackled the challenges of space transportation, but not many have tackled the challenges of space work. However, in the space industry, the demand for means to carry out general-purpose work inexpensively and safely is increasing rapidly.

We would like to contribute to the true commercialization of space by successfully commercializing and commercializing space work robots and reducing the cost of working in space to one-hundredth.

JAXA is working to expand private activities in Kibo with the aim of sustainable development of low earth orbit. If a robot that supports astronauts’ orbital work can be realized, it is expected that not only the efficiency of work but also the expansion of private activities and the sophistication of research activities in Kibo will be expected. 

Kazuyoshi Kawasaki, general manager of the Business Promotion Department at the JAXA Manned Space Technology Division, commented:

JAXA aims to develop outer space near the earth (low earth orbit) including Kibo, and creates space utilization that opens up the next generation with the participation of research institutes and the private sector in various fields in Japan.

If a space work robot that supports the work of astronauts in Kibo can be realized through this activity, it is expected that not only the work efficiency but also the sophistication of various research activities in Kibo and new utilization activities will be realized. I can do it. 

At the same time, cutting-edge technology acquired through space will lead to the creation of new innovations on the ground. This activity opens up new possibilities for space activities, and together with the results of research and development such as JAXA’s manned space technology, it is widely used in the field of private space commercialization, and new scientific knowledge and industry I hope that it will contribute to the creation.

Based on the knowledge acquired through the system operation of Kibo, we will provide technical cooperation for verification and analysis activities for the on-orbit technology demonstration conducted by GITAI, and acquire new knowledge of space robots and the future. We will continue to study the demonstration and service utilization of space robots at Kibo.

Through this project concept co-creation activity, GITAI and JAXA will promote the study of new services and business concepts provided by space robots, solve the safety and cost issues in human space activities, and further in outer space. We will respond to the increase in work demand.

About GITAI

GITAI identifies the tasks that need to be robotized in each space area, and by realizing robots that can perform those tasks, it is possible to reduce the work cost in space to 1/100. It is a space robot venture that we aim for. Mainly (1) work inside and outside the space station, (2) docking work for in-orbit services (fuel supply/repair to satellites, space debris removal service), and (3) robotization of general-purpose work in each area of ​​lunar exploration and base development work. Aiming to develop our own general-purpose space robot. https://gitai.tech/ 

About J-SPARC

The “JAXA Space Innovation Partnership (J-SPARC)” begins with a dialogue between private businesses aiming for space business and JAXA, and with the commitment of both parties toward commercialization, jointly considers the business concept. This is a program to create new businesses by developing and demonstrating technology that is oriented toward exits and exits. 

It started in May 2018 and is currently working on about 20 projects. In business concept co-creation, we carry out activities such as market research and examination of business concept, and in business joint demonstration, we carry out activities such as joint feasibility study and joint technology development / demonstration before commercialization.
http://aerospacebiz.jaxa.jp/solution/j-sparc/