Space travel from Shimojishima Airport: PD AeroSpace preparing a hub for 2025 signs agreement with Okinawa Prefecture

Space travel from Shimojishima Airport: PD AeroSpace preparing a hub for 2025 signs agreement with Okinawa Prefecture

An image of the winged space shuttle that PD AeroSpace aims to develop. PD AeroSpace will start a spaceport business at Shimojishima Airport. (Image provided by PD AeroSpace and Terumasa Koike)

September 11, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo


PD AeroSpace is an Aichi-based company working in spacecraft development. On September 10, this company signed a letter of intent with Okinawa Prefecture to develop spaceport capabilities at Shimojishima Airport in Miyakojima, which has a 3000-meter runway. PD AeroSpace plans to begin manned space flights departing from Shimojishima Airport in 2025. At earliest they will begin test flights with unmanned spacecraft in December of this year and proceed to build hangars in the summer of 2021.


PD AeroSpace was founded in 2007. The company aims to enable space tourism aboard winged space shuttles (space planes) and is currently developing an unmanned spacecraft. They have received funding from ANA Holdings and H.I.S., a major travel agency.

The plane that PD AeroSpace aims to develop will be different from launched space shuttles. This plane will take off horizontally, like an airplane, and will rise perpendicular to earth starting at an altitude of 15 km. The company plans for future space tours to take approximately 90 minutes from take-off to landing. The target audience is the super-rich of the world with an expected price tag between 14 and 15 million yen.

PD AeroSpace determined that Shimojishima Airport, with its 3000-meter runway and the training areas to the north and south, was a suitable spaceport. They aim to send 100 space tourists into space from Shimojishima in 2025, and 1000 people annually in 2030.

Shuji Ogawa, representing PD AeroSpace, says, “We want to make full use of the island’s unique qualities as we expand this business. In addition to a space development hub, we want to work with everyone in the space business to make Shimojishima a hub for all aspects of the space industry.”

They envision the development of a variety of businesses that will bring domestic and international companies working in the space sector. These include property rental, training for space tourists, and tourism opportunities showing test flights. There are also plans to establish a consortium centered around PD AeroSpace with travel companies and airlines in Okinawa and elsewhere, tentatively called The Shimojishima Spaceport Business Promotion Consortium.

(English translation by T&CT and Ellen Huntley)

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