The problem of environmental pollution needs to be solved not only on Earth. Humanity has managed to disgust space as well. As of 2023, more than 23,000 objects classified as space debris were orbiting our planet – “dead satellites”, the last stages of rockets, fragments of destroyed satellites, etc. And all of them are a threat to spacecraft. So, to help clear Earth’s orbit, the Japanese company Astroscale has developed and successfully launched the ADRAS-J demonstration satellite into space. Rocket Lab helped her in this with their Electron rocket.

The ADRAS-J satellite, selected for Phase I of the Commercial Debris Removal Demonstration Program, is due to rendezvous with the old upper stage of Japan’s H-2A rocket, which has been in Earth orbit for almost 15 years. As befits a first date, ADRAS-J will not make sudden movements – for now, its task is to safely approach a large fragment of the missile, determine the location using ground data, and only in a few months, if possible, take pictures and assess the condition – whether this stage is suitable for removal.

Space debris can be dealt with by taking it out of orbit or moving it to a lower altitude, where it will burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. But such actions must be preceded by thorough reconnaissance, and this is exactly what ADRAS-J was created for. Astroscale wrote on its blog on X: “ADRAS-J is officially on duty and ready to face space junk! Let a new era of cosmic resilience begin!”

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