Letara Ltd. (Sapporo, Japan), a start-up developing novel satellite propulsion systems using plastic fuel, was selected by NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) for its Deep Tech Startup (DTSU *STS) support program and this project is expected to provide a grant of about $1.6 million. Through this project, we will accelerate the development of an ultra-compact hybrid propulsion system for small satellites.
(*phase: Seed-stage Technology-based Startups)
【NEDO Deep Tech Startup Support Project】
The support program based on the fundamental policy formulated by METI, NEDO will support private sector business with innovative technologies that have the potential to solve various and difficult social problems faced by the international community from FY2023 to FY2027. This program is designed to support so-called "Deep Tech Startups" (DTSU), which require long-term research and development and large-scale funding, in order to achieve the goals set forth in the "Five-Year Startup Plan" (November 28, 2022, the meeting of A New Form 0f Capitalism Realization), The purpose of this program is to accelerate the business growth of deep tech startups and the establishment, commercialization, and social implementation of their innovative technologies.
(Excerpted and translated from the application guidelines)
【Purpose of the Project】
Letara Ltd. is a start-up established in June 2020 by members of Hokkaido University with the mission of going "Beyond the Earth, Faster and Further".
In recent years, satellites have become smaller and smaller, and as a result, the number of small satellites launched has increased more than 80-fold in the last 10 years, with about 2,000 satellites launched annually. Within the next 10 years, the number is expected to increase further to nearly 5,000 per year.
Despite this situation, there are no safe and affordable high thrust satellite propulsion systems that can match the cost reductions achieved by miniaturization. This is an issue that needs to be addressed to expand the utilization of space. Letara Ltd. is developing a high thrust, safe, and inexpensive satellite propulsion system using plastic as fuel for based on technology that has been developed at Hokkaido University over the past 20 years.
Letara Ltd. will accelerate this technological development, with the aim to bring a commercial product to market by 2025 and dramatically expand the scope of human activities in space.
【Comment from Founder & Co-CEO Shota HIRAI】
Letara Ltd. is a deep-tech startup developing engines for small satellites. To advance our research and development, and make a world-class satellite
propulsion system, we need to make use of all resources available for R&D. It is very significant for us that we have been selected for the NEDO Deep Tech Startup support program, which starts this year and has the possibility of extension. We believe that this program will accelerate our research and development and is a very important opportunity for us to grow as a company. We will continue to focus on R&D and business development and devote ourselves to leading the way in high thrust satellite propulsion. It is an honor to have been selected for this support program!