#Asia Fake shooting stars get closer to reality as crazy startup gets $6m funding


shooting stars, space startup

Photo credit: solarseven / 123RF.

Lena Okajima is working on perhaps the craziest startup service you’ll hear all year – one that creates on-demand shooting stars.

It does this by launching a micro-satellite into orbit that fires small pellets into the atmosphere, effectively little meteors, creating a celestial light-show. Well, that’s the idea – it’s slated to launch in 2018.

Having wished upon a shooting star, Lena and her Sky Canvas team have just secured US$6.1 million in funding from angel investors to make the service happen, the startup tells us this afternoon.

Lena Okajima of Ale explaining orbit types.

Lena explaining her old research and orbit paths. Photo credit: Tech in Asia.

That’s a huge sum of money from personal investors for a Japanese startup – but it’s going to take a lot of cash to build some serious hardware and propel it into space. Sky Canvas is set to partner with private space companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

“We are making something not made before,” Lena said to us a few months back. “If we mess something up it can be a huge sacrifice to the industry.”

It’s set to launch in 2018.

Startups are now leaping into the space race, building businesses around an array of outer-space shenanigans – like cleaning up floating debris or looking for minerals on the moon.

Venture capital firms invested US$1.8 billion in commercial space startups in 2015, “nearly doubling the amount of venture cash invested in the industry in all of the previous 15 years combined,” reported Fortune at the start of the year.

You’ll want to read our full profile of Lena and the Sky Canvas project.

Converted from Japanese yen. Rate: US$1 = JPY 115.

This post Fake shooting stars get closer to reality as crazy startup gets $6m funding appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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