Raising the profile of space debris – 2018

Posted December 31st, 2018 Posted in Blog

It has been quite a year at Astroscale! As the international market-leader in space debris removal services, we took significant steps in 2018 towards our goal of securing long-term spaceflight safety. We celebrated our 5th anniversary and continued to expand our international presence as we grew from 35 to over 60 passionate and dedicated staff across the globe. In addition we established  our own ground station in Totsuka, Japan, secured a further US $50M of funding to reach a total raise of US $102M, were named Forbes Japan’s ‘Start-up of the Year 2019’, and helped to raise awareness of space debris removal and orbital safety across media channels worldwide.

There is an increasing global recognition that space debris is a persistent threat to our lives here on Earth, especially considering our growing reliance on satellite data and technologies. The rising number of launch service providers coming to market and the onset of multiple constellations with hundreds of satellites each means that the issue of orbit sustainability is more critical than ever. According to recent statistics published by the European Space Agency Statistics Model (Masters 8.0), there are already more than 900,000 pieces of debris larger than 1 cm in size in Earth orbit today, all of which could destroy an active satellite. The orbital environment, which is already congested, is only going to get more crowded, and must be considered a precious natural resource.  Just like the land, oceans, air and sea, our orbits needs to be clean and sustainable.

We are working to solve this issue by focusing on three important tasks – developing the technologies, working with the policymakers, and closing the business case that will allow for a long-term orbital debris solution. While our engineers are hard at work building the technology solution at our R&D offices in Japan and the UK, our space policy teams are collaborating and networking with industry experts and government advisors worldwide in the conversation on regulations, policy, and standards. National governments and international organizations have recognized the risks posed by space debris and they are looking to us for help. The Astroscale team is in frequent discussions with global policy makers and in 2018 met with, among others, Japan’s Prime Minister, delegates at UNISPACE-50, where we were the first representative from a space debris removal company to address the United Nations, and as a space council member at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting.

Additionally, our management, business development and external communications teams are presenting our business case to commercial operators and to media at conference and events around the world.  Nobu Okada, Founder & CEO, Chris Blackerby, COO, and Miki Ito, President of Astroscale Japan, are passionate about raising the profile of Astroscale’s mission and the impact space debris will have on our everyday lives. In 2018 Nobu, Chris and Miki made too many appearances around the world to name them all, but you can find some highlights from their presentations at Slush Tokyo, Bloomberg Game Changers, TEDxKyoto, NHK World Japan and CNBC, just to name a few!  To scroll through the full list of the dozens of media appearances this year alone check out the In the Media section of our new website.

As the new year is now upon us we will not be slowing down! You will be able to find us at conferences around the world in 2019, including the 35th Space Symposium in April, SATELLITE 2019 in May, Small Satellite Conference in August, and IAC in October. If you’re interested in meeting with us or dropping by one of our booths, you can follow us at our Events page for more information.

Astroscale made big strides last year as we continued to develop a solution for this global issue. It was hard to miss us in 2018 and we are looking forward to seeing you in 2019 as we build the technology for debris removal and spread the word about the importance of the orbital environment.  We are the Space Sweepers, assuring space sustainability for future generations!