Setting on an ambitious space business, Japan's NEC Corporation has opened a new facility for the assembly, integration and testing of satellites at its existing plant in Fuchu City, a suburb of Tokyo, the technology company announced on 14 July.

The new "Satellite Integration Centre" adds to NEC's Fuchu plant's existing operations, and enables NEC to assemble as many as eight satellites in parallel, the company said in a statement.

In this new facility, the company can construct large scale satellites within a 50-meter-tall structure featuring a total floor area of 9,900 square meters, including a large chamber space and a large work room space with an interior height of more than 20 meters.

The facility can withstand earthquakes stronger than 6 on Japan's seven-stage seismic scale.

Approximately 9.6 billion yen (appx. USD1 billion) was invested in the new facility, including the building and its equipment. NEC invested approximately 7.6 billion yen and the rest was subsidized by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's Innovation Centre Establishment Assistance Programme.

Ambitious plans for space business

NEC has managed the integration of sixty-seven satellites, including Osumi, Japan's first satellite, which launched in 1970, the Hayabusa space probe, which successfully returned samples from the Itokawa asteroid, and the Hisaki spectroscopic planet observation satellite, launched on an Epsilon rocket in September 2013.

Going forward, NEC aims for 100 billion yen in space-related business by 2020. Starting in Asia, the company seeks to proactively meet satellite demand for emerging space programmes by capitalizing on the capabilities of its compact satellite assembly plant in Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture, the new facility in Fuchu, which supports integrated production systems for NEC's advanced standard satellite bus, the "NEXTAR Series" (NEC Next Generation Star) and the development of satellite infrastructure for environmental observation and disaster surveys.