Astroscale and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Renew Robotic Arm and Hand Technology Development Contract

Posted April 4th, 2022 Posted in News

Robotic technology will be critical to support the growing on-orbit servicing market.

Tokyo, Apr. 4, 2022 – Astroscale Japan Inc. (“Astroscale Japan”), a subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today announced it has renewed its contract for a second year with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (“METI”) to research and develop extra-vehicular general-purpose robotic arm and hand technologies.

Robotic hand and arm technologies that can be affixed to spacecraft to perform complex servicing activities in orbit will be critical to the growing on-orbit servicing market to extend the life of satellites and to remove space debris, reducing operating costs for satellite operators and mitigating the creation of further debris. To address these challenges, METI announced the project last year, with Astroscale one of two companies selected to lead the development of international standards and further promote space development and utilization.

The objectives of the project are to research and develop (1) general-purpose robotic arm and hand technology, (2) advanced and low-load autonomous control software technology and (3) interface technology that enables the robot to change its end-effector. The project will also analyze on-orbit servicing market and standardization trends, reflect them into the development plan and provide recommendations for standardization.

Astroscale is developing a range of on-orbit servicing missions and services globally, including the End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission, which is currently in orbit and proving the core technologies necessary for space debris docking and removal. Astroscale is also pursuing partnerships with industry and government agencies to further develop on-orbit servicing technologies and the overall safety and sustainability of the space environment.