Building on the strategic partnership that Axiom Space and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. signed in September, and following Mitsui’s investment in Axiom Space, the partners have initiated the formation of a joint venture in Japan to accelerate on-orbit services to commercial and government customers. This unique partnership builds on both Axiom’s in-space capabilities and Mitsui’s global industrial reach.
Together, Axiom Space and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. are opening the doors for non-traditional users to leverage the advantages of space, including microgravity and the unique vantage point of Low Earth Orbit. These services broaden international human spaceflight, research, manufacturing, and other opportunities at the International Space Station, and enhance a growing set of opportunities at Axiom Station, now under construction.
Axiom and Mitsui have been meeting with and onboarding commercial customers in consumer electronics, entertainment, agri-tech, chem-tech, marketing/advertising and other sectors. Discussions have also expanded to government organizations, space agencies and NGOs. With the increased volume of the partners’ activity in Japan, they are establishing operations together to support the rapidly growing customer base.
Axiom Space launched the world’s first all-private crew to the International Space Station on April 8, 2022. Back on Earth, Axiom now has $500 million in customer contracts, 420 employees and is on track to have closed more than $1 billion of customer contracts before the end of 2022. The first sections of Axiom Station are on schedule for launch to orbit in 2024 and 2025, where they will be connected to the ISS following the completion of verification and validation exercises. A few years later the completed Axiom Station will detach, providing a direct path to adopt much of the ISS user base.
Axiom Space’s Chief Business Officer Amir Blachman said, “We recognized Mitsui’s distinguished track record of creating global-scale industrial partnerships in the government and commercial sectors. With Mitsui, we aim to accelerate the development of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and advanced materials that improve the quality of life on Earth. We will also integrate our companies’ capabilities to answer the growing demand for on-orbit satellite deployment and servicing, cloud computing, entertainment and exploration systems in orbit.“
Mitsui & Co., Ltd. is a global trading and investment company with a diversified business portfolio that spans approximately 63 countries in Asia, Europe, North, Central & South America, The Middle East, Africa and Oceania with over 43,000 employees. Mitsui also has a growing footprint in space. The company was selected by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as a service provider for CubeSat deployment from the Japanese KIBO module at ISS, and was commissioned by JAXA to conduct the preliminary business concept study assuming the use of KIBO Pressurized Module in JFY 2020.
“Mitsui took this step with Axiom because of its progress far ahead of other entities who have proposed to build space stations,” Mitsui & Co., Ltd., General Manager, Space Business Dept., Kazutomi Shigeeda said. “Axiom’s unique partnership with the ISS Program and physical connection to the ISS, its peerless leadership team, and progress with commercial and government customers, position Axiom to lead the future of industry in Low Earth Orbit and we have already started jointly to develop these large markets.”
Together, the companies aim to build on that progress and execute a shared vision – to open space to a broad user base, providing data to help solve global-scale problems, create competitive products, and allow continued opportunities for countries to cooperate in space.