NEC to invest ¥10 billion to build factory for satellites

Kyodo

NEC Corp. will invest about ¥10 billion to build a factory in Tokyo and make low-cost satellites for emerging countries, sources said Thursday.

The maker of electronics and telecommunications equipment plans to mainly manufacture small satellites from fiscal 2014, which starts in April 2014, at the plant to be built in the suburb of Fuchu as part of its joint efforts with the government to win satellite-launching contracts from other countries, they said.

The ¥10 billion figure is considered a globally competitive cost for building and launching commercial satellites. NEC has succeeded in lowering the cost of building a small satellite and other necessary equipment to between ¥6 billion and ¥8 billion.

IHI Corp., a Japanese engineering firm, has already developed a rocket that can carry a small satellite at a cost of around ¥3 billion. Combined with NEC’s satellite, the Japanese public-private consortium will be able to offer a competitive launch package.

NEC’s new plant, which will be equipped with a vacuum chamber for performance and durability testing, will have the capacity to manufacture and assemble eight satellites at a time, they said.