Most Innovative Companies


Myriad companies are finding ingenious ways to send more satellites into space, but Astroscale may be the only one that is seriously figuring out how to get those hunks of technology back out of orbit once they become defunct. It’s a tricky job, grabbing a satellite while it’s moving 17,000 miles an hour. But Astroscale founder Mitsunobu Okada, a successful entrepreneur who used his own money to start the company, developed a “7-year marathon” strategy to become the first private company to deploy an active debris-removal satellite. He’s ahead of schedule: In early 2018, Astroscale plans to launch an orbital debris-monitoring satellite to create detailed maps of space junk, and by 2019 the company plans to launch the first satellite specifically made to track, capture, and pull a piece of debris out of orbit.

2017: Space
public or private: Private
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