Space BD, ElevationSpace to Start Discussion for the First Japanese Space Utilization Platform in Post ISS Era

TOKYO and MIYAGI, Japan (Space BD/ElevationSpace PR) — Two Japanese space startup, Space BD and ElevationSpace have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a space utilization platform which has the potential to be replaced with the International Space Station (ISS) Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” at the end of its operation.

Tokyo-based space startup Space BD and ElevationSpace, a startup spin-off from Tohoku University, started discussions toward realizing a space utilization platform internationally competitive in the post-ISS era.

The key technology of this initiative is “ELS-R,” a small space utilization platform that ElevationSpace develops. “ELS-R” enables science experiments and manufacturing the high-quality materials that are unable to be generated on the earth. ELS-R is also able to bring the deliverables back to the ground.

This “Atmospheric reentry” is the world’s leading technology that ElevationSpace develops. Space BD supports ElevationSpace from both the business development and technical aspects toward the ELS-R’ s in-orbit demonstration. The demonstration is currently scheduled for the second half of FYE March 2022. Space BD applies the knowledge and experiments cultivated through its primary business known as satellite launch services.

Furthermore, ElevationSpace plans to provide the ELS-R to the market no earlier than 2025. For the next step, Space BD develops demand in Japan and overseas markets for the service.

Through these initiatives, the companies will realize continuous space utilization in the post-ISS era. Moreover, the two companies agreed to discuss the space factory business and space construction business set forth by ElevationSpace.

The two companies currently work together for the High-Quality Protein Crystal Growth Experiment Service on the ISS “Kibo,” which Space BD was selected as the private partner by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in May 2021.
In this business, ElevationSpace will accompany Space BD for their demand development and service quality improvement. Meanwhile, they will apply the knowledge gained through this cooperation to improve the usability of “ELS-R.”

About the International Space Station (ISS)

The ISS has been used as an experimental facility for basic scientific research since its full-scale use began in 2000. For example, in pharmaceutical research and development, breast cancer drug manufacturing is carried out on the ISS, supporting people’s lives on the ground. As of June 2021, the use of the ISS after 2024 is under discussion in the participating countries.

Comment from Shun Yamaguchi, Manager, Business Development Department at Space BD

We are honored to participate in realizing Japan’s first private-sector-led space experiment platform for the post-ISS by co-creating with ElevationSpace. Space BD goes beyond with ElevationSpace to make ELS-R the world’s top user-friendly service. To achieve it, Space BD applied the knowledge gained from our satellite launch service, ISS outboard service, and life science R&D service onboard the ISS.

Comment from Ryohei Kobayashi, CEO at ElevationSpace

We are delighted to work on this project with Space BD, which has a wide range of achievements in utilizing the ISS. I feel that low earth orbit will increase in demand in the coming space travel era. ElevationSpace attempts to develop the service with Space BD to offer it globally. We hope that various companies will utilize space for multiple purposes, including expanding human activity areas and cutting-edge scientific research.

Comment from Toshinori Kuwahara, CTO at ElevationSpace

ElevationSpace will strive to promote new ways of space utilization and accelerate space development based on the world’s most advanced research and development results related to microsatellite technology. We offer a unique space utilization platform as the new business field and business tool to all business sectors, developing the world’s leading unmanned space platform.  We believe that our initiatives will develop engineering, material science, life science, medicine/pharmacy, and development activities, and it advances humankind into space, such as long-term space travel, interplanetary flight, moon/planetary migration.