A Japanese company unveils a satellite with the aim of approaching space debris in the first world
TOKYO — An experimental satellite scheduled for launch during fiscal year 2023 aimed at approaching space debris, apparently in the world’s first attempt of its kind, was shown to the press on September 7.
The satellite, called ADRAS-J, was unveiled by Tokyo-based Astroscale Japan Inc, which is developing technology to remove space debris including the remains of satellites and rockets that have reached the end of their operational lives.
The length and width of the satellite is 80 centimeters, its height is 1.2 meters, and it weighs about 150 kilograms. It is scheduled to be launched by a commercial rocket from New Zealand by the end of the current fiscal year. The satellite is intended to reach within a few tens of meters of the top of H-IIA launch vehicle No. 15 – a large rocket about 4 meters in diameter and weighing about 3 metric tons. The vehicle was launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in 2009, and is currently orbiting Earth at a speed of about 8 kilometers per second.
ADRAS-J is equipped with several high-performance cameras and laser rangefinders. Its goal is to accurately understand the location and movement of target debris and approach it safely. In the future, the company hopes to create technology to capture space debris using a robotic arm and plunge it into Earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up.
“The problem of space debris is a pressing issue. We hope that this technical demonstration will bring us closer to a solution,” said Eijiro Atarashi, project manager at Astroscale Japan.
As countries become more active in space development, the amount of debris orbiting the Earth continues to increase. If left unchecked, the debris could collide with the International Space Station or satellites, causing major accidents, and there is also a risk of such debris falling to Earth. However, no practical technology to remove it from orbit has been developed yet.
(Japanese original by N Tanaka, Lifestyle, Science and Environment News Section)
(Tags for translation)Space