Japanese space startup Gitai Robotics has raised Series $17.1 million in funding for the startup, with Series B funding. This new funding will used to fund the development and execution of an on-orbit demonstration mission for the company’s robotic technology that will demonstrate its effectiveness in performing space satellite servicing work. This mission is currently going too held in 2023. Gitai will also hire employees, especially in the United States, as it seeks to expand its state presence to attract more businesses from the market.
“We are making good progress in the Japanese market, and we have already contracted missions from Japanese companies, but we have not yet expanded to the U.S. market,” Gitai’s founder and CEO Shaw Nakanose explained in an interview. Therefore, we want to get missions from commercial space companies in the United States as the first subcontractor. We are particularly interested in on-orbit service and would like to provide general-purpose robotic solutions for orbital service providers in the United States.”
Nakanoz told me that Gitai has a lot of experience under belt developing robots that are able to install hardware on satellites, especially on-orbit satellites, which can be effective in improving existing satellites and constellations with new capabilities to change batteries to keep satellites in motion. Outside or if the satellites are faulty repair them. Gitai’s focus is not just on the activity of extra vehicles in the empty space. It is also performing a demonstration mission of its technical expertise in partnership with Nanoracks using Bishop Airlock, the first permanent commercial addition to the International Space Station. The Gitai’s robot, codenamed S1, is an arm-style robot that is no different from the industrial robots here on Earth and will display many skills, including managing a control panel and changing wires.
In the end, Gitai’s goal is to create a robotic workforce that can help establish orbits based on the moon and Mars. With the ultimate goal of reaching Mars, NASA plans to build a more permanent research presence on the ground, in addition to the lunar orbit, and private organizations such as SpaceX and Blue Origin are looking forward to more permanent colonies on Mars. With the prospect of more permanent colonies on Mars, as well as commercial activities as well as large space dwellings, Nakanose suggests that there will be enough need for low-cost, efficient robotic labor – especially in environments that are not conducive to human life.
Nakano’s told me that he actually started with Gitai after his mother’s death – unfortunately, he said that he firmly believed that robotic intervention could have been avoided. He began developing robots that could expand and enhance human capabilities and then researched what could be the most effective and necessary application of this technology from a commercial point of view. That research led Nakanose to conclude that space was the best long-term opportunity to start new robotics and Gitai was born. SARARX Innovation led the fund for Future Co. Ltd., and the founding forms include DCI Venture Growth Fund, Die-Aichi Life Insurance Company, and EP-GB (Epson’s venture investment arm).