New Japanese private joint venture to enter smallsat rocket industry

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Capitalism in space: A Japanese private joint venture has formed with the intent to compete in the new smallsat rocket industry.

The new company is led by President Shinichiro Ota, a former industry ministry bureaucrat and once the head of the Japan Patent Office. NGSRDP will initially be based at Canon Electronics’ headquarters, studying technologies and costs with the hope of starting commercial operations as early as this year.

The joint venture has set a price point of 1 billion yen ($9.1 million) or less per launch — an amount seen as competitive against overseas rivals. At present, plans call for a rocket smaller than the Epsilon rocket currently under development by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, but larger than JAXA’s SS-520 minirocket.

The four companies had been discussing formation of a small rocket company for about three years. President Ota has said that the “time is ripe” for the joint venture. IHI Aerospace has played a key role in the development of Epsilon, while Canon Electronics has been involved in the SS-520 project.

I would say that this is a clear sign that the competition in the smallsat rocket industry is definitely heating up.

Note that the name of this new joint venture, New Generation Small Rocket Development Planning (NGSRDP), is quite horrible. I hope they come up with something better soon for marketing purposes.



  • LocalFluff

    It will be known as New Generation.

    In the small launcher news, Knut Madsen, one of the two founders of Copenhagen Suborbital, has been arrested suspected for causing the death of a journalist by negligence (body not yet found) when his submarine sank (or was deliberately sunk as has been clamied). Copenhagen Suborbital’s vision is a one man suborbital launcher.

  • Anthony Domanico

    Although he was one of the founders, the man suspected of this crime is no longer associated with Cop Sub. I’m just concerned this turn of events may harm the project and I wish them well and I hope Madsen didn’t harm anyone. With that said, I do know based on some of the videos I’ve seen on YouTube that Madsen had a bad temper. In fact, prior to Madsen leaving (or being forced out?) his bad behavior caused one of the other founders to leave the project.

    It’s late and I’m always on my cell phone when I make these comments so I never include any links or references. But if anyone is interested in seeing the source material, I can find the videos tomorrow afternoon/evening EST and provide the links.

  • Anthony Domanico: I would like some more information, though I am puzzled by your comment in that you mention “Cop Sub” but the article makes no mention of this. I also have no idea who Madsen is.

  • LocalFluff

    I hope it is not how it will be for small crewed launch providers: Rocket crashes, body not found, owner arrested.

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