Astroscale ships debris removal demonstration satellite "ADRAS-J" to launch site.

Astroscale ships debris removal demonstration satellite "ADRAS-J" to launch site.

Publication Date: October 6, 2023, 14:09

Astroscale, a space debris removal company, announced on October 4th that it has shipped its commercial debris removal demonstration satellite, ADRAS-J, to its planned launch site in New Zealand. The mission is scheduled to commence within the fiscal year 2023.

ADRAS-J was unveiled at Astroscale's headquarters in September 2023 (photo by the editorial department).

ADRAS-J is a demonstration satellite for debris removal technology developed by Astroscale under the contract of the "Commercial Removal of Debris Demonstration (CRD2) Phase I" by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), aiming for technical demonstrations such as large debris removal. The launch will be carried out by Rocket Lab's Electron rocket, and the launch site is planned to be the company's first launch facility (Launch Complex 1) on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.

After the launch, it aims to gradually approach the upper stage of the "H-IIA Rocket No. 15" that launched the target debris, GOSAT, and eventually get close enough to reach by hand. The target debris is a large debris with a total length of about 11m, a diameter of about 4m, and a weight of about 3 tons. In addition to the four services required by JAXA, such as "confirmation of track record for debris approach plan", "fixed-point observation of target debris", "orbital observation of target debris", and "mission end processing", Astroscale itself also plans to carry out three unique missions: "inspection and diagnosis of target debris", "extremely close approach to target debris", and a currently undisclosed "extra mission".

Hideki Kato, President and CEO of Astroscale, commented on the shipment, "The completion and shipment of the satellite is a major milestone in the project, and with this, the demonstration has transitioned from the development phase to the launch and operation phase. I am looking forward to the launch of ADRAS-J and the start of operations in orbit." However, the Electron rocket had an anomaly in the second stage during the launch on September 19, and the cause is being investigated. Due to this, the launch of ADRAS-J, which was originally scheduled for November, has been postponed, and the new launch date is currently undecided.

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