June 24, 2020

Space BD to provide the SmallSatellite deployment service from ISS to ASTROFLASH, a startup from the University of Tokyo, for its first satellite as a visual attraction.

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Tokyo- Space BD Inc., the leading space startup in Japan that provides access to space using the International Space Station Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo" and rideshares on Japan's flagship launch vehicle "H3," announced that it will provide SmallSatellite deployment service from the International Space Station International Space Station to ASTROFLASH Inc. ASTROFLASH is a startup that aims to bring space closer to everyday life through the world’s first satellite platform for visual attraction. The two companies have signed the launch service contract.


Image of ASTROFLASH satellite utilization


ASTROFLASH is pioneering new ways to utilize space through the SmallSatellites. It is currently developing a satellite that is visible from the ground, and anyone can freely control the color and brightness of the satellite for entertainment purposes.


ASTROFLASH's first satellite is a 3U CubeSat (10x10x30cm; 4kg), scheduled for launch in FY2021. In this in-orbit demonstration, ASTROFLASH aims to establish the technology for "a satellite that is bright and visible from the ground" with a single satellite. After it is deployed from the International Space Station, the satellite will orbit around the Earth for about a year, during which it will emit light with a maximum brightness of -2 magnitude or higher to cities around the world. It will give the people the opportunities to freely control the color and brightness of the light. The operation of the satellite will be limited only in the urban areas, to prevent interference with astronomical observations.
The name of the first satellites is currently undecided, but ASTROFLASH is looking into putting out a call for the naming rights.


ASTROFLASH aims to develop advanced satellite operations using formation-flying technology with multiple satellites. In the future, it hopes to provide "space illumination," which will animatethe night sky in urban areas using light-emitting CubeSats, to promote the use of space technology in everyday life.


The CubeSat is planned to be developed jointly at Intelligent Space Systems Laboratory and Yoshioka Laboratory at the University of Tokyo. They are also considering to demonstrate advanced technology for future space applications.


In this project, Space BD provides one-stop support for the entire launch campaign, from scheduling the launch and in-orbit demonstration opportunities, technical coordination, safety reviews of the environmental test results with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and support for administrative procedures. The company will maintain its commitment to the project to ensure successful mission completion.


Furthermore, as a business development professional in the space industry, Space BD will also provide a wide range of services to support ASTROFLASH's commercialization, including cultivating needs for future services handled by ASTROFLASH.


Comment from ASTROFLASH CEO Morito Katsuyama

"We are very pleased to launch our first satellite with Space BD. Many satellites are now orbiting the Earth, but only a few of them are visible from the ground. Therefore, it has been difficult for many people to feel an affinity with space. Our satellite will appear brighter than other stars in the night sky and allow people to control its color and brightness. We would like to invite many people, especially children, who will lead the development of science and technology in the future, to experience this new use of space. We would like everyone to know that space is always close and is very familiar to us. We hope that more people will be interested in space."


Comment from Space BD Launch Service, Marketing, Manager, Kazuhiro Ohno

"We are very pleased to partner with ASTROFLASH to develop their first satellite together. Space BD's motto is to "bring dreams and commerce into space" to accelerate space commercialization. Since ASTROFLASH aims to make people interested in the space through the entertainment use, I think we have a common desire to make more people feel an affinity with space."



  • Space BD Public Relations: Marin Hara
  • Tel:+81-3-6264-7177
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ASTROFLASH was founded in November 2019 as a spin-off from the Intelligent Space Systems Laboratory at the University of Tokyo to make space closer to people with satellite technology. The company aims to provide new ways to experience space by utilizing Small Satellite technology.


About Space BD Inc.

Space BD delivers the optimum plan to transport things to Space for customers aiming to launch satellites or perform experiments in the space environment. The company provides one-stop support for all matters right from technical coordination to execution and operations support. Furthermore, Space BD has expertise in new business and project creation to explore new possibilities of space utilization and open up Space to industry sectors. Since its founding in 2017, Space BD has been actively pursuing its mission of accelerate the industrialization of Space. In December 2019, Space BD was once again selected by JAXA as the official rideshare launch provider using Japan’s flagship launch vehicle, H3. The company will continue to maximize the value of these Japanese assets to expand the space industry’ scope in Japan and around the world.