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Axiom Space and Mitsui & Co. establish joint venture in Japan

The companies aim to open space to a broad user base, providing data to help solve global-scale problems.

Axiom Space and Mitsui & Co. have initiated the formation of a joint venture in Japan to accelerate on-orbit services to commercial and government customers.

The agreement comes after Mitsui invested in Axiom Space last year.

Axiom Space is working to build a commercial space station and offer human spaceflight services. 

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 organisations, 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 $500m in customer contracts, 420 employees and is on track to have closed more than $1bn 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 recognised 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.”

Global investment company Mitsui & Co. has a diversified business portfolio that spans approximately 63 countries in AsiaEurope, North, Central & South America, The Middle EastAfrica and Oceania with over 43,000 employees. Mitsui also has a growing footprint in space. 

Kazutomi Shigeeda, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., General Manager, Space Business Dept., added: “Mitsui took this step with Axiom because of its progress far ahead of other entities who have proposed to build space stations. 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 the 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.