Astroscale, a Japanese startup designing orbital debris removal and on-orbit servicing technology, announced two debt raises totaling about $44M this week to ensure it has cash on hand in today’s challenging economic conditions.
On Tuesday, the company announced that it entered into a loan agreement for ¥3B (~$22M) with Mizuho Bank. Yesterday, Astroscale announced a revolving credit line with MUFG Bank for another ¥3B (~$22M) as a backstop facility in case they hit a cash shortfall.
“It is a very tough market,” CFO Nobuhiro Matsuyama told Payload. “There will be a reckoning of sorts in the future. It’s not that the industry at large is under pressure, but there will be a bifurcation between who can weather the storm and who may not make it to the end of the finish line. Given that, we are very thankful to both MUFG and Mizuho for being strong partners.”
Putting $$ to work: Astroscale plans to use the debt financing to fund existing projects that are already under contract with customers, Matsuyama said.
“The economic conditions are one of the key drivers in this decision,” Matsuyama said. “There is a very stark difference in the market conditions compared to a year ago and capital is very expensive right now.”
The two new debt raises bring Astroscale’s total debt capital to ~$100M. On the equity side, the company raised $76M in a Series G round in February, which was notable given the current state of private markets.
Coming up: Despite economic concerns, customer demand from civil, defense, and commercial sectors is still high, Matsuyama said, as proven by Astroscale’s busy to-do list for 2023, which includes:
- ADRAS-J, an in-situ SSA mission launching this summer that will rendezvous with and collect data from a JAXA-owned H-IIA rocket upper body. It will mark the first attempt to approach an existing piece of large debris through rendezvous and proximity operations.
- ELSA-M, a follow-on mission to ELSA-d expected to launch in 2024, is slated to capture and remove multiple satellites in a single mission.
- COSMIC, a mission that aims to remove two defunct satellites in 2026.
- Astroscale’s US branch is also working on research with the Air Force and Space Force, as well as life extension missions.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the dollar value of the debt. Each loan is $22M.