Gitai is a Japanese space startup company that is building robots to do work for the commercial space market. Yes, there is a market for that, apparently.
Space development is happening at the speed of…light
NASA plans to build a permanent presence on orbit at the Moon for research purposes and has the stated goal of reaching Mars. Private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are in a space race to build a colony on Mars. And there are numerous other efforts with ambitions in space, including creation of in-space habitats, launching satellites and even offering space flights off the Earth.
So, Gitai thinks there will be plenty of business for the general-purpose work robot they are building to perform tasks in space.
What kind of work is/will be available in space?
Gitai’s robots can do these things well:
- install hardware on satellites on-orbit;
- replace batteries to keep satellites operational; and
- repair satellites if they break down.
But they can also do things inside a space station like operating a control panel and replacing cables.
In addition, the general-purpose robots could work on the following tasks:
- IVA and EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity) tasks on space stations;
- Docking, mission extension, repair, and maintenance work for on-orbit servicing (life extension to satellite / space debris removal); and
- Various tasks for lunar exploration and lunar base construction.
Expanding in the U.S.
- Gitai founder and CEO Sho Nakanose: “So we would like to get missions from U.S. commercial space companies, as a subcontractor first. We’re especially interested in on-orbit servicing, and we would like to provide general-purpose robotic solutions for an orbital service provider in the U.S.”
Gitai recently completed a $17.1 million Series B financing led by SPARX Innovation for the Future Co. Ltd.