Study to Assess Japanese Participation in the
Commercialization of Low Earth Orbit
LOUISVILLE, Colo. – November 3, 2022 – Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company at the forefront of building the future of space transportation and infrastructure for low-Earth orbit (LEO) commercialization, announced today that the company will participate in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) “Feasibility Study for Sustainable Space Environment Utilization in Low-Earth Orbit.”
Sierra Space will provide LEO commercialization platform expertise to the study, which is led by Kanematsu Corp. and features a team of leading commercial space companies including Baker & McKenzie, Bascule Inc., Blue Origin, Japan Airline Co., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co., Ltd., MUFG Bank, Ltd. and Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.
The purpose of the study is to assess opportunities for Japan to participate in the future of LEO commercialization after the retirement of the International Space Station (ISS). Sierra Space will evaluate potential use cases for its innovative technologies, including Dream Chaser and Orbital Reef, the first commercial space station to be built in LEO, as a co-equal partnership between lead investors Sierra Space and Blue Origin.
“As a leader in the commercial space industry, Sierra Space has a duty to open up space as a location to live, work, study and create in low-Earth orbit and beyond,” said Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice. “As we seek to democratize LEO, through Dream Chaser and Orbital Reef, Sierra Space will explore how these innovative technologies can be leveraged by Japan and related Japanese technologies and services. To that end, we have worked with Kanematsu to assemble a team charged with exploring new opportunities for people especially in Japan to help write the next chapter of human history.”
Ryoichi Kidokoro, Senior Executive Officer at Motor Vehicles & Aerospace Division, also said, “Kanematsu is thrilled to engage with Sierra Space on this study to accelerate the post-ISS discussion with JAXA and other Japanese commercial partners. We will work closely with experts in all necessary fields among launch service, cargo & crew transportation, LEO destinations, actual utilization, law and risk/insurance to incubate and commercialize the LEO market in Japan.”
Leading the project, Kanematsu Corp. is considering Japan’s entire business model for LEO utilization, and Tokyo Marine will identify challenges and barriers for commercial space activities, including crew transportation services, in terms of risk assessment and insurance.
Japan Airlines will also consider crew transportation in Japan, and Baker & Mackenzie will identify challenges and barriers in LEO destination and crew transportation service in terms of regulations and law. Bascule Inc. will consider the new LEO utilization in the fields of digital communication and entertainment. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will consider the business model of cargo transportation and crew launch. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group will provide insights on business model consultation, documentation and financial advice.
About Sierra Space
Sierra Space (www.sierraspace.com) is a leading commercial space company at the forefront of innovation and the commercialization of space in the Orbital Age. Sierra Space is building platforms in space to benefit life on Earth. The company is in the latter stages of doubling its headcount, with large presences in Colorado, Florida and Wisconsin. Significant investors in Sierra Space include General Atlantic, Coatue, and Moore Strategic Ventures.
With more than 30 years and 500 missions of space flight heritage, Sierra Space is enabling the future of space transportation with Dream Chaser®, the world’s only winged commercial spaceplane. Under construction at its Colorado headquarters and expected to launch in 2023 on the first of a series of NASA missions to the International Space Station, Dream Chaser® can safely carry cargo – and eventually crew – to on-orbit destinations, returning to land on compatible commercial airport runways worldwide. The company is also establishing a Human Spaceflight Center and Astronaut Training Academy. Sierra Space is also building an array of in-space destinations for low-Earth orbit (LEO) commercialization including the LIFE™ (Large Integrated Flexible Environment) habitat at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a three-story commercial habitation and science platform designed for LEO. Both Dream Chaser and LIFE are central components to Orbital Reef, a mixed-use business park in LEO being developed by principal partners Sierra Space and Blue Origin, which is expected to be operational by the end of the decade.
ICR for Sierra Space
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