Strategic Agreement between Sierra Space Corporation, MUFG Bank, Kanematsu and Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance

Sierra Space Commercial Space Company

LOUISVILLE, Colo. – Sept. 26, 2023 – Sierra Space Corporation (Tom Vice, CEO; hereinafter Sierra Space), MUFG Bank, Ltd. (Junichi Hanzawa, President & CEO; hereinafter MUFG Bank), Kanematsu Corporation (Yoshiya Miyabe, President; hereinafter Kanematsu), and Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. (Shinichi Hirose, President & CEO; hereinafter TMNF) have concluded a strategic agreement in the Asia-Pacific region, and MUFG Bank, Kanematsu, and TMNF have decided to make a strategic investment in Sierra Space. Through this partnership, we will contribute to the commercialization of Low Earth Orbit [1], the creation of new industries, and the enhancement of life on Earth.

Sierra Space is a leading commercial space company that is building a platform in Low Earth Orbit – space stations and transportation systems to and from Earth – and will soon launch the first of an initial seven resupply missions to the International Space Station (hereinafter ISS [2]) under a multibillion-dollar NASA contract with its next-generation Dream Chaser® spaceplane [3]. Early this year, NASA awarded a Space Act Agreement to Sierra Space, providing support to a “pathfinder” space station, which will serve as a technology demonstration for key elements of commercial space stations. Sierra Space is considering the use of Oita Airport as an Asian hub and spaceport for Dream Chaser®, which is expected to have an economic ripple effect of about 350 billion yen in Japan as a whole and about 35 billion yen in Oita Prefecture [4]. In addition, Sierra Space’s end-to-end business and technology platform is expected to use the microgravity environment of Low Earth Orbit for innovations in the field of life science, academic scientific experiments in the fields of materials and physical chemistry, drug discovery and other applications, as well as entertainment.

In October last year, the four companies announced joint participation in JAXA’s “Feasibility Study for Sustainable Space Environment Utilization in Low Earth Orbit” to discuss how to conduct Low Earth Orbit activities after the ISS retirement and how to conduct Low Earth Orbit activities after 2025, including extending the ISS, and to propose new solutions and business models. Under the strategic partnership, MUFG Bank, Kanematsu, and TMNF will participate in the commercialization of Low Earth Orbit led by Sierra Space, thereby further expanding the supply chain of the Japanese space industry and creating new industries. We will also broaden our efforts to develop the space industry by bringing together all the companies who can participate in this initiative.

[1] Refers to the area where the ISS (altitude 400km) is active, between 200km and 1000km.
[2] The ISS is scheduled to operate until 2030. There have been discussions, mainly in the United States, on how to conduct business on commercial space stations owned and operated by private companies following the ISS retirement.
[3] A reusable space plane developed by Sierra Space. Operation of resupply missions to the International Space Station will begin in late 2023/ early 2024. Manned aircraft are also expected to start operating in the second half of the 2020s.
[4] Estimation of Mitsubishi UFJ Research & Consulting Co., Ltd.

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