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Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui", Head Office: Tokyo, President and CEO: Tatsuo Yasunaga) has invested in Spaceflight Industries, Inc. ("SFI", Head Office: Seattle, USA, President and CEO, Jason Andrews). SFI operates a satellite launch support business utilizing rockets mainly in the United States. Mitsui has positioned the aerospace business as a frontier domain and regards participation in SFI as an opportunity to further expand initiatives in the field.
The global space market reached US$329.3 billion (approximately 36 trillion yen) in 2016. Annual growth in this market has reached approximately 8% over the past five years, and is forecasted to continue growing at average rate of 5%(*). This remarkable rise in recent years has been driven by "New Space," emerging space business operators, notably in the United States, which are independent private companies. In the past, participation in the space market was limited to government and research institutions.
Established in 1999, SFI is a representative "New Space" company. It developed its satellite launch support business by introducing and selling available payload space on rockets to satellite operators. Its proprietary and innovative technologies and services have helped it to build an impressive customer network in the satellite industry. To date, SFI has supported more than 130 satellite launches in total. This gives SFI one of the leading records globally. Looking to the future, SFI plans to expand its business by manufacturing and launching its own satellites, building an earth observation platform for more than 60 satellites, and fully commencing a geospatial information providing business (business name: BlackSky) by monitoring changing global conditions using AI analysis.
Mitsui, through its participation in SFI, will help promote the BlackSky business in the private sector, including in mining, energy, agriculture and transportation. At the same time, Mitsui aims to collaborate with SFI to promote satellite rideshare services to launch companies, utilizing SFI's network, and further expanding its own space business, both in Japan and overseas.
* Space Report 2017, Morgan Stanley
|Name of Company||Spaceflight Industries, Inc.|
|Head Office||Seattle, Washington, USA|
|Representative||Jason Andrews, Chief Executive Officer|
1. Satellite launch support business (business name: Spaceflight)