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MUFG Bank Leads $290 Million Investment in Sierra Space’s “Spaceport” Project

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MUFG Bank, alongside Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire and Kanematsu, has spearheaded a $290 million fundraising round for U.S. space firm Sierra Space. The Japanese companies are investing heavily in Sierra, which is now valued at $5.3 billion. This partnership is part of Sierra’s long-term strategic vision with its Japanese counterparts. Sierra Space, a spin-off from Sierra Nevada, aims to construct a private space station by 2030, potentially succeeding the International Space Station.

Sierra Space’s upcoming project involves launching its Dream Chaser spaceplane next year, designed for both cargo and crew transportation to orbit. The company has partnered with Kanematsu, Japan Airlines, and the Oita prefectural government to establish Asia’s inaugural “horizontal spaceport” at a regional airport. Despite facing challenges, including the bankruptcy of Virgin Orbit, the Oita project remains on track.

While Japan’s national space missions have faced setbacks, the commercial space industry in the country is flourishing. MUFG Bank has previously invested in domestic space startups, while Tokio Marine’s rival, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, provided the world’s first “lunar insurance” for ispace’s moon-landing mission, which encountered difficulties in April. These endeavors signify a growing alliance between Japanese companies and private space ventures, both at home and abroad.

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