Nobu Okada, Founder and CEO of Astroscale Holdings Inc., the market leader in securing long-term orbital sustainability, was named Company Leader of the Year in the small/medium business category at the 2020 SpaceNews Awards for Excellence & Innovation.
“He closed a $51 million (U.S.) funding round, raising a total of $191 million to date, acquired intellectual property giving Astroscale a foothold in GEO satellite servicing and is preparing for the 2021 launch of ELSA-d, the first commercial mission to demonstrate orbital debris removal,” said Brian Berger, SpaceNews editor-in-chief, of some of Okada’s 2020 accomplishments during the award ceremony. “As a teenager, he traveled from Japan to Alabama to attend SpaceCamp and saw his journey come full-circle this year when he was elected a Vice President of the International Astronautical Federation.”
With this award, Okada joins an elite group of leaders recognized for their contributions across the space sector, including U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations General John W. “Jay” Raymond, ESA Director General Jan Woerner, former Secretary of the Air Force Heather A. Wilson and SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell. This year’s winners were chosen by a committee that included past award recipients.
“This award is significant as a validation of our efforts to directly address space sustainability, and I thank SpaceNews and the selection committee for the honor of receiving it,” said Okada. “The orbital environment is a non-renewable natural resource, and as the world rises to the challenge of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the U.N., there is growing recognition that a sustainable Earth will not be possible without space-based technologies. At Astroscale, we are developing technical solutions, working with industry to define business objectives, and informing responsible policy creation with the goal of reducing the risks from orbital debris, supporting sustainable space systems and behaviors, and improving the quality of life on our planet for future generations.”
The SpaceNews Awards have been held each year since 2017 to celebrate excellence and innovation in the global space industry. The Company Leader award is open to any private-sector employee in a leadership role, regardless of title. Companies with fewer than 2,500 employees are eligible in the small/medium category.
Okada is a leading voice in the global space community and a highly respected member of various international organizations. Among numerous other roles, he serves as Vice President of Space Economy and Sponsorship for the International Astronautical Federation, and as co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space. In the latter position, Okada played a key role in developing the concept of a Space Sustainability Rating, a system designed to ensure long-term sustainability by encouraging responsible behavior among countries and companies participating and operating in space.