Space Robot Startup Gitai Raises $15MSpace Robot Startup Gitai Raises $15M
The company’s mission is to create safe, affordable space labor
September 1, 2023
Japanese startup Gitai has raised $15 million for its lunar robotics pipeline, three months after closing a Series B funding round with $30 million.
The company, which has offices in Tokyo, Japan and Torrance, California, said the additional funds will be used to accelerate its business expansion in the U.S., as well as for “partial coverage of the lunar surface demonstration.”
The round included investments from Green Co-Invest Investment Limited Partnership, Pacific Bays Capital and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital, as well as a loan from MUFG Bank.
The company said its lunar robots are designed to provide safe, affordable labor in space, reducing operational costs “by 100 times.”
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“Gitai is developing highly capable, safe, and reliable robots to help build and maintain satellites, space stations, lunar bases, and cities on Mars,” the company said in a statement.
The company’s two main robot offerings are a robotic arm, the Lunar Inchworm, and a Lunar Rover. The Inchworm design features grapple end-effectors on both ends of the arm, making it customizable and versatile, while the rover can move autonomously around a lunar surface to help in construction and maintenance tasks, such as building and fixing infrastructure such as solar panels and communication towers.
Both robots were tested in a simulated lunar environment last August, performing tasks potentially necessary for lunar exploration.
Gitai said it would next demonstrate the capabilities of a 5-foot autonomous dual robotic arm system, the S2, aboard the International Space Station’s Nanoracks Bishop Airlock. The S2 is designed to autonomously execute In-space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing in the vacuum of space.
“There are a tremendous number of applications in space that our robotic arm can be used for, including on-orbit servicing and lunar exploration,” said Sho Nakanose, Gitai CEO. “Our vision is to provide a safe and affordable means of labor in space, and this opportunity on the Bishop Airlock brings us one step closer to making that happen.”
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