Latest news about GITAI:
By eliminating the need for air, heating, food and water that keeps humans alive, space developers can reduce the frequency of people-ferrying rocket launches and instead send up more avatars that can do spacewalks all the time—unlike humans—and assemble space stations, build bases and maintain spacecraft.
At its Tokyo office, Gitai has a mock-up of the interior of the International Space Station, with various plugs, shelves and equipment mounted to a wall. A robot with white arms and black hands flips switches and handles experiment samples. The movements seem almost human, probably because there’s an operator 10 meters (33 feet) away, wearing a headset and gloves that transmit touch. The cost? An estimated $300,000 to $500,000 for each avatar.
Gitai has raised about $4 million from Spiral Ventures and other backers to send parts of its contraptions into space next year for testing, in what will be a joint experiment with NanoRacks LLC, a Houston-based company offering launch services and access to the International Space Station.
The startup is one of 77 teams that cleared the first round of the XPrize competition, which ends in 2022. ANA Holdings Inc., Japan’s largest airline, is backing the contest, and $10 million will go to the winners and finalists. “Mobility, in our definition, doesn’t require bodies,” said Akira Fukabori, who oversees the competition.