Japan’s government has pledged $6.6bn (¥1trn) towards its space sector in a new Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) fund. 

The fund is part of a Japanese ten year plan to promote the country’s space economy. A spokesperson for the government clarified that ¥300bn had already been set aside for JAXA in Japan’s latest supplementary budget. 

The money is intended to go towards university research into space exploration, as well as space startups and other private sector companies. Funding is a major hurdle in the space economy, given the huge amount of money needed to fund space travel that is disproportionately at risk of crashes and other technological faults. 

Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported that this funding was intended to support a private space sector to rival US company SpaceX, which has already made two attempts into space

Japanese minister for space travel Sanae Takaichi spoke about the funding, stating that it was “necessary” to speed up Japan’s space development to avoid lagging behind rivals. 

In 2022 the space economy was valued at approximately $450bn, but by 2030 research company GlobalData predicts it could be worth between $760bn and $1trn. 

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GlobalData’s Thematic Intelligence: space economy report found that the industry had seen a recent influx of startups and privately owned companies. Investor interest, clear market gaps and technological advancements were the main factors credited to this.  

“The sector has become incredibly competitive,” GlobalData’s report reads, “Space is no longer the sole domain of governments and incumbent aerospace and defense companies. Technological advances in manufacturing, propulsion, and the launch of rockets have made it much easier and less expensive to venture into space.”