Tokyo-based Gitai Aims to Deploy Robots for Lunar and Martian Missions
Tokyo-based start-up Gitai believes that autonomous robots, rather than human labor, should be the driving force behind lunar and Martian colonization. According to the company, robots can be utilized in space for a variety of tasks, from assembly and inspection to routine technical maintenance of facilities. To this end, Gitai has developed a robotic arm and rover specifically designed for space application.
Gitai’s technology continually draws significant investor interest, and the company recently announced that it has raised $30 million from Japanese funds and venture firms. The start-up intends to channel these funds into expanding its staff and amplifying its production and testing capabilities in the US. “We plan to invest in the US,” stated Gitai CEO Sho Nakanose in a recent interview.
Gitai is in the process of setting up testing stands for its robotic technologies, including a lunar environment mock-up and a vacuum chamber. Its ultimate aim is to boost the technological readiness of its two primary products. The robotic arm has already experienced space, as Gitai conducted a technology demonstration on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2021. Gitai is currently preparing for a second robotic manipulator demonstration next year, which will take place outside the ISS, making it considerably more complex. The company also plans to send a rover to the moon by 2026.
The space industry presents unique opportunities for robotic developers. Current robotic arms attached to the ISS are costly, with the multi-phase development program for the third-generation “Canadarm” robotic arm (which is attached to the outside of the ISS) estimated to be worth $1.2 billion. Astronaut labor is also not a solution to this issue: sending a human into space remains expensive and risky, let alone sending them to perform extravehicular activities beyond the station. Private companies developing private space stations, including Vast, Blue Origin, Voyager Space, and Axiom Space, will likely be searching for more affordable alternatives to the outdated robotics on the ISS. Gitai could meet this emerging market demand with its robotic arm.
“As SpaceX and Blue Origin are reducing the cost of space transport by a hundredfold, we at Gitai are taking on the task of reducing the cost of labor by the same amount. We will provide the majority of labor on the Moon and Mars and will create infrastructure such as solar batteries, communication antennas, fuel generators, and living modules,” Nakanose stated.
- I'm Martin Harris, a tech writer with extensive experience, contributing to global publications. Trained in Computer Science, I merged my technical know-how with writing, becoming a technology journalist. I've covered diverse topics like AI and consumer electronics, contributing to top tech platforms. I participate in tech events for knowledge updating. Besides writing, I enjoy reading, photography, and aim to clarify technology's complexities to readers.
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