In October of 2016, ANA HD, the largest airline group in Japan, and H.I.S., one of Japan's largest travel agencies, established a capital alliance with PD Aerospace to develop commercial space flight using a new type of spacecraft. ANA HD invested 20.4 million yen in PD Aerospace at that time.
Last July, PD Aerospace succeeded in an experimental propulsion system1, a world first, which can alternate between a jet engine and rocket engine function2.
This time, in addition to ANA HD and H.I.S, Huis Ten Bosch, Mizuho Growth Fund No.2 Limited Partnership (Mizuho Capital Co., Ltd.), and Optima Ventures have also invested in PD Aerospace. PD Aerospace is still looking for new investors in order to close this funding round. With the additional investment funds, PD Aerospace will transfer the Research and Development Center to a new location within the city of Hekinan, Aichi Prefecture, and accomplish its ambitious goal to fly an unmanned spacecraft equipped with the propulsion system up to an altitude of 100 km in the year 2019. The new location includes a hangar for the spacecraft and is eight times bigger than the current one.
In order to accelerate and support the development of manned spacecraft, ANA HD has dedicated one of the company's own, skilled, aircraft mechanics, who has been relocated to PD Aerospace and is working together with their team.
As one of the efforts to realize "ANA Group Society 5.0"3 in line with the ANA Group's Mid-Term Corporate Strategy for FY2018-2022, ANA HD aims to create new markets and demands such as space travel and high-speed transport which will significantly shorten travel time of commercial flights. Amid the accelerating development of space projects by the private sector, ANA Group will set out to utilize the knowledge of operations cultivated in the air transportation business, to prepare for the space era and its many space projects and businesses including space travel and transportation.
Yoshiaki Tsuda, VP, ANA Digital Design Lab, said that the company is increasing their support to help expedite the project's timeline of testing and launching an unmanned spacecraft to an altitude of 100 km.
1The engine is comprised of a simple tube structure which incorporates jet engine and rocket engine functions in one by utilizing the characteristics of a pulse detonation engine to enable hypersonic flight. This mechanism makes it possible to fly through the normal atmosphere as well as space in one aircraft
2The space plane uses systems similar to those on a conventional aircraft. It takes off and lands using its jet engine and converts to rocket engine mode when in space.
3For more Information about "Society 5.0" and "ANA Group Society 5.0" laid out in its Mid-Term Corporate Strategy for FY2018-2022, please access: