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Selection of Service Provider
for Exposed Facility (EF) Port utilization platform on Kibo

March 8, 2019 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

On December 5, 2018, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) opened recruitment to the private sector for a service provider of the EF utilization platform on Kibo of the International Space Station. After carefully evaluating the proposals, JAXA has selected Space BD Inc. as the service providers.

Space BD, the selected service provider will take up their own sales activities. Starting April 2020 it will provide on-orbit services for domestic and foreign users of Kibo to test parts, components, and on Earth observation missions.

In line with the second version of the “Kibo Utilization Strategy” adopted in August 2017, JAXA intends to promote the participation and autonomous activities by the private sector in the module. The first round of open recruitment chose a service provider that deployed small satellites. BD Inc. has been selected as service providers for EF utilization platform services activities at the second round.

In 2016, JAXA developed the IVA-replaceable Small Exposed Experiment Platform (i-SEEP) to perform the unique in-orbit demonstration missions utilizing two advantageous technologies only Kibo has—the Robot Arm and the Airlock.
In-orbit demonstration of High Definition TV(HDTV) and GSPR/Wheel units using the COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) was conducted at i-SEEP, which lowers the threshold of orbital demonstrations. In addition, in-orbit demonstration of Laser Link Communications Technology and in-orbit demonstration of Integrated Standard Imager for Microsatellites are to be performed at i-SEEP.

To make Kibo available for yet more, JAXA is shifting from its sole endeavor to partnership with businesses. expected to expand the use of Kibo by their original private entities both domestic and international. It will further expand the demands for in-orbit demonstrations and increase new missions. JAXA hopes this stimulates the utilization of Kibo and low Earth orbits.