Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui", Head Office: Tokyo, President and CEO: Tatsuo Yasunaga) has been selected by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency ("JAXA", Head Office: Tokyo, President: Hiroshi Yamakawa) as a service provider of deploying small satellites from the "Kibo" Japanese Experiment Module on the International Space Station ("ISS"), following a tender process. Going forward, the Mitsui Group aims to conclude a formal contract with JAXA to develop a business for launching satellites from the ISS into space.
The ISS was constructed at an orbit of about 400km above earth and is jointly operated by the space organizations of Japan and other countries, including the US, Russia, Canada, and various European countries. It is used to carry out various experiments and research that make useful contributions to people's lives and industrial development. So far, seven Japanese astronauts have served on the ISS.
This business is the first step in opening up Kibo for use by private sector businesses, and the Mitsui Group will deploy its collective capabilities to make opportunities for launching small satellites accessible to a wide range of users both in Japan and overseas and provide various related services, with the aim of deepening our cooperative relationship with JAXA and contributing to the effective utilization of space through Kibo.