CHIBA, Japan (Jan. 24) – Pale Blue Inc. (Pale Blue) will establish a new development base for production technologies in Tsukuba City in Ibaraki Prefecture aiming for business expansion of water-based propulsion systems towards the company’s vision of creating mobility capabilities that are core to the space industry. Pale Blue has also been awarded the Ibaraki Prefecture Corporate Location Promotion Subsidy, expected to be around USD 1M (JPY 150M), and the company will strengthen collaboration with the Ibaraki Prefecture.
Following the recent advent of small satellites that can be developed both at a lower cost and in a shorter lead time, an increasing number of companies worldwide have entered their businesses into the space industry, which leads to a rapid expansion in commercial applications. The growth driver is satellite constellations, in which a group of small satellites are launched and work together as a system to provide services such as communication and earth observation. To operate a satellite constellation, it is necessary to coordinate the positioning of multiple satellites in space and it is also important to take measures to mitigate space debris. The propulsion systems Pale Blue has developed are keys to satellite constellations. Pale Blue has decided to set up a new development base for production technologies in Tsukuba, Ibaraki for business expansion of water-based propulsion systems, where the number of inquiries from national and international satellite operators have increased considerably since the successful in-orbit operation of its water-based propulsion systems in March 2023.
Pale Blue has bought a 1,911 square meter land in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, and will build a facility to develop production technologies. At this new site, the company will develop mass-production models of its propulsion systems followed by production, testing and shipment in the near future. With it being closely located to Pale Blue’s Kashiwanoha R&D base, the new base will enable the company to accelerate the development of higher value-added products and to expand its business in a timely manner through close coordination between the R&D and the production technology development departments.
The reasons for the selection of this location include its proximity to the company’s Kashiwanoha R&D base and the high-potential talents around with work experience in space and manufacturing industries. Another major reason is the pleasant working environment it will provide thanks to the convenient access to the Tsukuba Express railway line and to the central area as well as its neighboring area being selected for a development project with commercial facilities planned to be built.
– Ibaraki Prefecture and Tsukuba City
To achieve Pale Blue’s mission, “Pioneer the expansion of human possibility,” it is important to contribute to the local economy and its sustainable growth through business. Pale Blue will contribute to the local economy by creating jobs and increasing investment while advancing R&D towards mass production of water-based propulsion systems. The Ibaraki Prefecture Corporate Location Promotion Subsidy is a program to support businesses in growing sectors that have been approved and invited to relocate their headquarters, head office functions or research centers to Ibaraki Prefecture. With this subsidy, Pale Blue will establish a new base and accelerate business expansion.
– TOKYO KEIKI INC.
Pale Blue will collaborate with TOKYO KEIKI to manufacture and assemble subsystems of the prototype mass-production model of its propulsion system. To learn more: https://pale-blue.co.jp/news/390/
We are very grateful that Pale Blue has chosen Ibaraki Prefecture as the place to set up an R&D base for scaling up their business. The prefecture started Ibaraki Space Business Launch Base Project in collaboration with the national government and JAXA, leveraging the research accumulation of Tsukuba, and it also has been building a support system. We particularly focus on attracting space startups, aiming to create a world-class space business hub. We hope that the company will make even greater progress as a global leader in the space industry from this prefecture.
To expand the use of small satellites and to mitigate space debris, it is essential to have propulsion systems to actively move satellites in space, or mobility in short. We will establish a new development base for production technologies of water-based propulsion systems in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, to create mobility capabilities that are core to the space industry. With strong support from the Ibaraki Prefecture through collaboration and the Ibaraki Prefecture Corporate Location Promotion Subsidy, we will build a structure for business expansion in coordination with our Kashiwanoha R&D base. We will contribute to the economic development of Ibaraki by new employment and investment while aiming to make further leaps globally.
Pale Blue is a space-tech startup from the University of Tokyo founded in 2020. The company offers next-generation spacecraft propulsion systems that use water as a safe green propellant. Through its innovative propulsion technologies, Pale Blue aims to develop a space ecosystem where in-space mobility is not only affordable but completely safe and sustainable.
Emily Okuhara, Manager of Marketing & Communications of Pale Blue