SEOUL, South Korea — Japanese startup ArkEdge Space has raised $18.7 million this year to continue developing nanosatellite technologies needed for building an Earth-to-moon communication system and a multi-functional smallsat constellation.

The Tokyo-based company, which raised $13.5 million in January, said March 29 that it raised an additional $5.2 million to close a Series A round. Including a March 2021 seed round, the company has raised $22 million. Investors include Incubate Fund, Real Tech Fund, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Capital, SPARX Innovation for Future Corporation, and Pavilion Capital PTE.

 “With the funds raised his time, we will accelerate the construction and reinforcement of our satellite development system through addition hires and other measures,” the company said in the statement.

ArkEdge Space was awarded a contract in February by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to study navigation and communication technology development for lunar surface activities. The company led a consortium of Japanese organizations, including ispace, Mitsubishi Precision, Kiyohara Optics, KDDI Corporation, and the University of Tokyo that developed a concept of a lunar navigation satellite system, lunar-earth communication system and its development plan. The group finished its work last month.

Another project the company is pushing forward is launching a constellation of seven multi-functional 6U nanosatellites by 2025, with the first satellite planned to launch in 2023. The constellation will enable governments and cooperate customers to carry out such missions as IoT communications, Earth observation, marine DX (VDES), and high precision attitude control, according to the company. 

Last year, ArkEdge Space received an undisclosed amount of subsidy from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) for developing the constellation.

Park Si-soo covers space industries in South Korea, Japan and other Asian countries. Park worked at The Korea Times — South Korea's leading English language newspaper — from 2007 to 2020. He earned a master’s degree in science journalism from Korea...