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Astroscale Successfully Launches World’s First Debris Inspection Spacecraft, ADRAS-J

By Eric Van Rees - 19th February 2024 - 09:26

Astroscale Japan, a subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings, a provider of satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, confirmed the successful launch of its commercial debris inspection demonstration satellite, Active Debris Removal by Astroscale-Japan (ADRAS-J), from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand on Sunday, February 18, at 2:52 pm UTC.

“The Astroscale Japan Mission Operations team in Tokyo has successfully made contact with ADRAS-J and is ready to start operations,” said Eijiro Atarashi, ADRAS-J Project Manager. “This milestone signals the start of our mission, and we are excited to survey and characterize a real piece of debris through our innovative Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO) capabilities.”

The ADRAS-J spacecraft was selected by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (“JAXA”) for Phase I of its Commercial Removal of Debris Demonstration program. Astroscale Japan is responsible for the design, manufacture, test, launch and operations of ADRAS-J.

The ADRAS-J mission is the world’s first attempt to safely approach, characterize and survey the state of an existing piece of large debris through RPO. ADRAS-J is designed to rendezvous with a Japanese H2A upper stage rocket body, demonstrate proximity operations, and gather images to assess the rocket body’s movement and condition of the structure. The mission will demonstrate the most challenging RPO capabilities necessary for on-orbit services.

Read More: Satellite Imaging Aerospace

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