A satellite engineered for the purpose of inspecting space debris has successfully reached orbit


Astroscale’s ADRAS-J spacecraft, a demonstration satellite aimed at advancing future efforts to clean up space debris, has successfully reached orbit following a flawless launch from New Zealand on Sunday. The satellite embarked on its journey aboard an Electron rocket, courtesy of Rocket Lab. Its primary objective, selected by Japan’s space agency (JAXA) as part of Phase I of the Commercial Removal of Debris Demonstration program, involves rendezvousing with an aging Japanese rocket upper stage that has remained in orbit since 2009.

The proliferation of space debris in Earth’s orbit, stemming from decades of space exploration, has emerged as a pressing concern. To address this issue, space agencies worldwide are increasingly collaborating with private enterprises to explore potential solutions. Among the most promising strategies is the deorbiting or relocation of space junk to lower altitudes, facilitating its incineration upon reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. ADRAS-J stands as the pioneering effort to target and assess existing large debris, utilizing ground-based data to pinpoint its precise location.

In the coming months, the satellite will navigate its way to the designated target, endeavoring to approach it safely and capture images to evaluate its condition. These assessments will determine the feasibility of removing the debris. “ADRAS-J is officially on duty and ready to rendezvous with some space debris!” Astroscale announced via Twitter, signaling the commencement of a new era in space sustainability.

Source: engadget.com