Astroscale’s ELSA-d Debris Removal Mission Receives Award From Cabinet Office, Government of Japan

Posted March 18th, 2022 Posted in News

Tokyo, Japan, Mar. 18, 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 Seita Iizuka, End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) Project Manager, received the Minister of State for Space Policy Award during the 5th Space Development and Utilization Awards, sponsored by the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan.

The Space Development and Utilization Award is intended to contribute to further progress in space development and utilization activities. The award also aims to foster awareness and understanding of space development and utilization among the Japanese people by commending projects that have made significant contributions to the promotion of those activities through pioneering efforts.

“I am very honored to receive this award from the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, and accept this on behalf of the entire ELSA-d team and everyone who has supported us and our mission,” said Seita Iizuka, ELSA-d Project Manager. “ELSA-d is an unprecedented technology demonstration, we are learning valuable lessons about operating in space, and this mission is the first step in paving the way for a sustainable future in space.”

Minister Award with Seita 001
L-R: Yasuyuki Kasai, Director-General National Space Policy Secretariat, Cabinet Office, Prof. Shinichi Nakasuka, Takayuki Kobayashi, Minister of State for Space Policy, Seita Iizuka, ELSA-d Project Manager, Aya Iwamoto, Japan Space Policy Lead

Iizuka joined Astroscale in 2017 and held various roles, including Aerospace Engineer, Assistant to the Chief Technology Officer, ELSA-d Deputy Project Manager, ELSA-d Client Spacecraft Project Manager, and was appointed ELSA-d Project Manager in September 2019. Prior to joining Astroscale, Iizuka was a Range Control Officer at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), where he oversaw operations of ground stations. During his tenure at JAXA, he was directly involved in the success of 11 rocket launches in three years. ELSA-d is Astroscale’s first mission to reach orbit and is supported by a team of engineers in Japan and the United Kingdom. Utilizing his experience from JAXA and a range of domestic and international missions, Iizuka leads the team with tenacity and patience, contributing to this prestigious accolade for the mission.

ELSA-d is the world’s first commercial mission to prove the core technologies necessary for space debris docking and removal. The spacecraft, which consists of two satellites stacked together — a Servicer designed to safely remove debris from orbit and a Client satellite that serves as a piece of replica debris — was launched into a 550 km orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in March 2021. A “test capture” demonstration was completed in August 2021, which successfully validated the magnetic capture system, on-board sensors and cameras. Astroscale will mature the technologies and capabilities from ELSA-d for the cutting-edge ELSA-Multi (ELSA-M) spacecraft. The ELSA-M servicer will be capable of capturing multiple defunct satellites in a single mission. Technology development and planning are well underway to test the servicer’s multi-capture capability to provide debris removal solutions for constellation operators such as OneWeb.

Minister Award with Seita 002