Japan-based Axelspace Corporation announced it will start its commercial imaging service on June 10, 2021 with the company’s five satellite constellation. The company has been providing imagery using one satellite since May 2019.
The AxelGlobe (AG) Tasking & Monitoring service will provide one, three or six images per month of an aera specified by a customer, with a monthly subscription contract and a minimum time of two months. Axelspace is offering the service at half price for the first two months for new customers who sign up by the end of June. New services will be launched in the fall, including the AG Archive service to provide access to an archive of imagery taken over time and an AG Cloud-Free Mosaic service to provide cloud-free base maps.
Axelspace added four new imaging satellites to its fleet on March 22 of this year, moving the satellites including its first one into even intervals in one orbit over the past months. With the five satellites in the same orbit, the company can provide imagery of anywhere in the world with a visit time of two to three days. The satellites provide ground resolution of 2.5 meters.
Last month, Axelspace announced it had completed a $24 million Series C venture round, with participation by The Space Frontier Fund, Sumitomo, Japan Post Investment, KYOCERA, and Mitsubishi. The company plans to use the new funding to manufacturer and launch five more optical imaging satellites, giving the company of 10 satellites in total and the ability to provide imaging of anywhere on earth daily.
Japan has several commercial imaging ventures in various stages of development. Synspective is focused on synthetic aperture radar (SAR), launching its first small (100 kilogram-class) satellite in December 2020 onboard a Rocket Lab Electron. A second satellite is scheduled to be launched later this year, with plans to have a constellation of 6 satellites by 2023 and a constellation of 30 satellites by the late 2020s. A 6 satellite constellation is expected to provide a revisit time of 24 hours to any location with 30 satellites providing a revisit time of 2 hours.
Canon Electronics launched a pathfinder satellite in November 2020 and highlighted its interest in mass production of small satellites and building a catalog of imagery at CES 2021. The company has set a $90 million revenue target for satellite components, satellites, and data by 2030, leveraging its heritage of consumer camera electronics and optics into imaging satellites.