Letara Ltd. (Sapporo, Japan), a start-up developing novel satellite propulsion systems using plastic fuel, was selected by METI for its Go-Tech Project - a program designed to support the R&D efforts of growing small- and medium- sized companies.
Through this initiative, Letara will accelerate its development of a high thrust, safe, and inexpensive hybrid propulsion system for small satellites, with space demonstration testing to be conducted in collaboration with the University of Tokyo, JAXA, and Tokyo Metropolitan University.
Letara is a Hokkaido University affiliated start-up founded in June of 2020 with the mission statement “Beyond the Earth, Faster and Further”.
In the past decade, satellite launches have increased twenty-fold, with an estimated annual launch rate of 2000 missions annually. It is projected that within the next decade, this figure will increase to 5000 missions annually.
Despite this accelerating increase in satellite launches, there is a gap in the market for safe and inexpensive propulsion systems catered toward smaller satellites.
Recognizing this gap, Letara is investing in the development of a hybrid propulsion system, offering a high-thrust, safe, and inexpensive solution.
Through the Go-Tech program, Letara, along with partners at the University of Tokyo, JAXA, and Tokyo Metropolitan University, will accelerate the development of a high-thrust, safe, and inexpensive hybrid propulsion system and conduct a demonstration test in space.
Comments From Collaborators:
Affiliation: Tokyo Metropolitan University
Title: Associate Professor, GEO-X PI
Name: Professor Yuichiro Ezoe
“A major hurdle to realizing a remote mission like GEO-X is that the cost of launching into our desired orbit is quite high. Letara’s propulsion system will allow us to reach our target orbit utilizing relatively low-cost rideshare programs. We would like to promote the use of Letara’s propulsion system for missions considering using a rideshare service.”
Affiliation: JAXA ISAS
Title: Professor, Department of Interdisciplinary Space Science
Name: Professor Ryu Funase
“Our mission at JAXA/ISAS is to enable the future exploration of unexplored regions of our solar system. High-thrust satellite propulsion technology has been highlighted as important in enabling a reduction in cost and time associated with missions beyond the sphere of influence of the Earth. We believe that promoting the development of such a propulsion system compatible with a wide range of satellite systems will contribute to the advancement of space exploration.”
Affiliation: Northern Advancement Center for Science ＆ Technology
Title: Go-Tech Project Director
Mr. Seiya Ito
“Letara is commercializing Hokkaido University’s space propulsion technology while collaborating closely with both the public and private sectors in Hokkaido. We believe that Letara can serve as a model for future start-up companies originating from Hokkaido University, along with other space-related companies in Hokkaido. Going forward, we will continue to promote Letara’s business activities.”