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Astroscale’s ADRAS-J Completes Successful Rendezvous and Initiates Proximity Approach

By Eric Van Rees - 12th April 2024 - 05:11

ADRAS-J's Visual Camera Detects Rocket Upper Stage and Achieves Angles-Only Navigation at Several Hundred Kilometers: A Landmark Event for Rendezvous and Proximity Approach (RPO).

Astroscale Japan, a subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings, a provider of satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, announced that its commercial debris inspection demonstration satellite, Active Debris Removal by Astroscale-Japan (ADRAS-J), has achieved a major technical milestone: completion of the rendezvous phase of its mission and the beginning of proximity approach. This success is underscored by starting Angles-Only Navigation, a navigation method to estimate relative position and velocity through the servicer’s on-board cameras.

During the rendezvous phase, ADRAS-J initiated its approach through several orbit raising maneuvers at a distance of thousands of kilometers from the client rocket upper stage. The upper stage, which was launched in 2009, is an unprepared object that does not provide any GPS data on its own, meaning the precise location needed for an RPO mission is not available. Based on limited information available from ground-based observations, the Astroscale operations teams in Japan and the United Kingdom successfully maneuvered the ADRAS-J servicer within several hundred kilometers of the rocket upper stage. ADRAS-J's visual camera then successfully detected the client, and its images were processed using Astroscale-developed Angles-Only Navigation algorithms.

Read More: Location Intelligence Aerospace

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