- Additional funding made as Saudi Arabia and UAE increase focus on space exploration
By : Bakinam Khaled
Seiko Epson Corporation (TSE: 6724, "Epson") and its subsidiary Epson X Investment Corporation ("EXI") recently made an additional investment in GITAI Japan Inc., a startup company that develops general-purpose space robots. The investment was made through their EP-GB Investment Limited Partnership.
Originating in Japan, GITAI is a startup that envisions providing safe and affordable labor in space. Their goal is to develop and sell versatile space robots that will serve as a workforce for tasks both inside and outside space stations, in Earth's orbit, as well as on the Moon and Mars. Additionally, they aim to provide services in space.
With the acceleration of space development, including lunar resource development, Mars exploration, and the commercialization of the International Space Station (ISS), a rapid increase in various types of work within space is anticipated, such as the construction of new space stations, lunar bases, and Mars bases. This work is potentially dangerous and is currently being performed by astronauts, who must be trained and transported at tremendous expense.
GITAI is developing general-purpose robots that can significantly reduce the risk and burden on astronauts while also dramatically reducing the overall cost of transportation and training associated with space labor. By doing so, GITAI aims to make space exploration and development both safe and affordable. Since 2021, they have been steadily building a strong track record by developing lunar work robots and extravehicular robots, as well as by successfully completing on-board experiments using demonstration models on the ISS.
“The timing of this new Espon investment into the development of space robots coincides with increased space exploration by both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, including the first Saudi woman astronaut, Rayyanah Barnawi, to visit the ISS, where Emirati astronaut Sultan Alneyadi recently completed a space walk,” said Jason McMillian, Sales Director, Epson Middle East. “Our focus on research and innovation in space robot technology can be beneficial for the GCC and other nations investing in future exploration.”
As outlined in the Epson 25 Renewed corporate vision, Epson aims to drive manufacturing innovation by co-creating flexible, high-throughput production systems that reduce environmental impacts. GITAI's space robot technology has potential applications in Epson's robotics business and has proven to be competitive in the expanding space business market.
The company continues to forge growth with its strong technical and organization capabilities. Recognizing its impressive track record and the significant technological advancements it has achieved, Epson decided to follow up its initial investment in 2021 with this additional investment.
Going forward, Epson will help to achieve a sustainable society by creating a variety of partnerships and synergies based on its proprietary technologies, products, and services.