Axelspace Corporation is pleased to announce that we have been selected for the “Development and demonstration of inter-satellite optical communication network systems” by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). This is under the “Key and Advanced Technology R&D through Cross Community Collaboration Program”*. Through this development and demonstration project, we will cooperate with Space Compass Corporation (a joint venture between NTT and SKY Perfect JSAT), the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), and NEC Corporation.
Social background of this research
The next generation of information and communication infrastructure, “Beyond 5G (6G),” is expected to be implemented around 2030 with the expansion of communication areas by using a non-terrestrial communication network system (NTN: Non-Terrestrial Network). In addition, constructing inter-satellite optical communication networks in low earth orbit (LEO) is attracting attention as a key technology for the next generation. It is believed to complement areas with inadequate terrestrial telecommunications infrastructure, leading to a safer and more secure society. This is because non-terrestrial communications infrastructure provides a more robust network over a wider area when terrestrial communication infrastructure is temporarily unavailable, such as areas where these services haven’t been adequately provided before (e.g.,mountains, inside ships and aircraft, and areas without electricity) and times when natural disasters occur.
In this project, we will research and develop microsatellite technologies that will enable the provision of high-capacity, low-latency data communication and data processing services. We will then demonstrate the functionality and performance of the satellite optical communication network system in the vicinity of Japan by 2029. We will develop optical communication microsatellites and integrated network control systems (i.e., network operating system, satellite autonomous operation systems) to establish the LEO optical communication satellite constellation. Additionally, we will arrange Earth observation satellites and the RF ground stations with optical communication terminals for the system demonstration. By building a network in orbit with optical communications links between satellites, we are committing to creating a society where communication is available from anywhere on/around the Earth, such as, but not limited to, the ocean, isolated areas, and space.
Significance of participation in this project for Axelspace
Since the company’s establishment in 2008, we have manufactured and operated nine microsatellites. In 2015 we launched “AxelGlobe,” an Earth observation platform service by developing and utilizing Japan’s first microsatellite constellation for Earth observation. AxelLiner was launched in 2022, utilizing Japan’s first mass-production system for microsatellites to offer a one-stop satellite service to provides satellite systems for customers to enact their missions in space. We utilize Japan’s first mass-production system for microsatellites. Optical relay constellations utilizing real-time interconnected data networks between satellites have been garnering attention globally, and we see great significance to our business with this technology and its ability.
We have foreseen that optical communication terminal will become an essential component for future microsatellites. Therefore, we were selected for “Beyond 5G research and development of radio-optical hybrid communication technology” by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in 2021. We have been conducting research and development of radio-optical hybrid communication technology using microsatellites ever since.
While we currently provide the Earth observation services via AxelGlobe by operating our own constellation, we are excited to offer additional value to customers with this new technology of real-time interconnected data transmission and to contribute to the further growth of AxelGlobe.
Comments from each company
Principal investigation company
Koichiro Matsufuji and Shigehiro Hori, President and Co-CEO, Space Compass Corporation
It is our company’s vision as well as an urgent issue for Japan to deploy an optical based satellite communication network with world-class high security, economics and technologies.
We are honored to participate in this important program as a representative company.
Yuya Nakamura, President and CEO of Axelspace Corporation
“As a pioneer in microsatellite technology, we have designed, developed, and operated nine satellites in orbit since our establishment. Inter-satellite optical communication is a key technology for the next generation. We are proud to play an important role in this project to establish an in-orbit communication network utilizing this technology. Through this project. we aim to grow our business and contribute to society as a world-leading microsatellite company.
*Key and Advanced Technology R&D through Cross Community Collaboration Program
This program promotes and utilizes the research and development of cutting edge technologies for civilian and public usages. The results are essential for Japan to secure a firm presence in international society for future generations. Recognizing the demand for economic security in Japan,this program supports rapid and flexible progress from research and development to technology demonstration. It also takes appropriate measures to prevent intelligence leakage, depending on individual technology characteristics and maturity.
Cabinet Office website
■About Axelspace Corporation
Axelspace provides solutions on the basis on its unique microsatellite technology under the vision of “Space within Your Reach.” The company’s main business activities comprise the AxelGlobe Earth Observation platform and the AxelLiner one-stop service to enable customers to realize their own microsatellite missions. The company offers microsatellite-based solutions for the Earth Observation business and the design, manufacturing, launch organization, operational support and commissioning of microsatellites and related components.
For more information, please visit https://www.axelspace.com/
■ About Space Compass Corporation
Space Compass is a joint venture company between NTT, Japanese Information and Communications Technology (ICT) giant, and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, Asia’s largest satellite operator. We will launch a Space Integrated Computing Network to aid the realization of a sustainable society. For more information, visit our corporate website, https://space-compass.com.
The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) is Japan’s sole National Research and
Development Agency specializing in the field of information and communications technology. NICT is charged with
promoting ICT sector as well as research and development in ICT, which drives economic growth and creates an affluent,
safe and secure society. For more information, please visit https://www.nict.go.jp/
About Axelspace Corporation
Location: Tokyo, Japan
President and CEO: Yuya Nakamura
Founded August 8, 2008
Capital: 7,122 million yen (including capital reserve)
Main business activities: Earth observation business using microsatellites, the proposal of solutions utilizing microsatellites, design, and manufacture of microsatellites and related components, launch arrangements for microsatellites, and operational support and commissioning.
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