Pale Blue announced on October 21 that it has raised around 70 million yen (around $670,000) in funds. These funds were raised via loans from financial institutions and the third-party allocation of shares (Seed Round) underwritten by funds managed by Incubate Fund and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital.
Pale Blue is a venture company affiliated with the University of Tokyo that develops water-based propulsion devices for micro-satellites. Efficient propulsion devices for movement in outer space are essential for expanding the market for small satellites. However, an outstanding issue is that engines which utilize high-pressure gas or toxic substances similar to those used in larger satellites are unsuitable for micro-satellites in view of their volume, weight, and cost. Pale Blue has been conducting R&D on propulsion devices that convert water which is safe, non-toxic, easy to handle, and readily available into a plasma state before it is ejected.
These funds will be used to conduct multiple space demonstration projects for these water-based propulsion devices. Pale Blue has been selected as a demonstration theme for the Innovative Satellite Technology Demonstration Unit No. 3 of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and plans are currently underway for space experiments involving an ultra-compact water-powered integrated propulsion system (which integrates an ion thruster with a resistojet thruster that heats up the propellant with electrical energy before ejecting it into a single component).