Tokyo Startup to Develop Reusable Rocket with U.S. Rocket Engine Developer Ursa Major Technologies

Courtesy of Innovative Space Carrier Inc.
An image of the ASCA-1 reusable satellite launch vehicle

Tokyo-based startup Innovative Space Carrier Inc. announced Thursday that it will develop a reusable satellite launch vehicle in collaboration with a U.S rocket engine developer. The company says it aims to test-fly “ASCA-1” in the United States as early as next year.

At ISC, which was established in May 2022, former rocket engineers at major manufacturers work to develop crewed space planes, such as space shuttles in the United States.

According to the announcement, ISC signed a partnership with Ursa Major Technologies Inc. (UM), a U.S.-based rocket developer founded by people including a former engineer at leading space company SpaceX. UM has the technology to build rocket engines in a short period of time using 3D printers.

ISC will shorten development time by installing rocket engines built by UM on its rocket. The company will conduct a test flight in the United States as early as next year to launch the rocket to an altitude of several kilometers and land it.

In March, ISC founded a U.S. subsidiary for the business partnership. Since exporting rocket technologies that can be used for military purposes is prohibited, test flights will be conducted in the United States for the time being.

ISC Chief Executive Officer Kojiro Hatada said at a press conference in Tokyo, “We have the goal of developing a rocket capable of launching satellites in the next five years and aim to develop crewed space transportation systems in the future.”