While Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are working on rockets and the challenges of getting to space, Sho Nakanose, the chief executive of Gitai, is focused on labor costs. It's too risky and impractical for human beings to assemble and inspect machinery in space, while equipment now used is far too expensive.
The bottleneck of the space industry has been changing rapidly, Nakanose said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Monday. Large space companies like SpaceX and BlueOrigin are solving the space transportation problem, and now the bottleneck has changed from transportation costs to operational costs. SpaceX's SpaceX has reduced the cost of sending rockets into space by lowering the costs of bringing rockets into space. Gitai's robot arms and rovers would provide safe and affordable labor and reduce operational costs by 100 times, he said.
Japan-based Gitai has completed a $34 million funding round to accelerate the development of remote-controlled robots. The company will use the money to staff up in the US, where it is expanding to recruit engineers and prepare its robots for work in space.
The seven-year-old startup's robotic arm and rovers can remotely perform routine construction work from solar panel installation to welding, as well as inspect equipment and conduct maintenance and assembly tasks. To achieve success in space, they would need to survive and mitigate radiation exposure and work as efficiently as possible.
We develop and manufacture space robots, such as inchworm and robotic arms, and lunar robotic rovers, Nakanose said. In 2021, we successfully conducted our first tech demo inside the International Space Station. And we are conducting the next tech demo, this time outside the ISS, within this year. Space startups worldwide are flocking to the US, drawn from NASA contracts now pouring into private companies. NASA hopes the money will form the foundations of what will eventually become a lunar economy - a future where spacecraft transports people and scientific equipment to the moon and mines the moon for rare metals and data.
We've decided to expand our business in the US. Gitai's investors include affiliates of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Yamato Holdings Co.