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  • Satellite Evolution Group

Astroscale ships world’s first debris inspection mission to launch site

Astroscale Japan has shipped its commercial debris inspection demonstration satellite, Active Debris Removal by Astroscale-Japan (ADRAS-J), from its satellite manufacturing facility in Tokyo, Japan, to Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand.

“Shipment to the launch site is always an exciting milestone of any satellite development program,” said Eddie Kato, President and Managing Director of Astroscale Japan. “We have officially moved from the development phase to the launch and operations preparations phase, and we are very much looking forward to the launch of the world’s first debris inspection mission.”

The ADRAS-J spacecraft was selected by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency 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 Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO). ADRAS-J is designed to rendezvous with a Japanese upper stage rocket body, demonstrate proximity operations including orbiting around the upper stage, and gather images to assess the rocket body’s movement, and condition of the structure. The mission will demonstrate the most challenging RPO technologies necessary for on-orbit services.

ADRAS-J Mission Highlights

  • ADRAS-J will be the world’s first attempt to safely approach and characterize an existing piece of large debris through RPO.

  • The mission will lay the groundwork for one of the world’s first active debris removal (ADR) missions and for in-space inspection and situational awareness capabilities.

  • ADRAS-J will demonstrate the essential RPO capabilities for delivering future safe and secure on-orbit services.

  • ADRAS-J will serve as a catalyst for making ADR and other on-orbit services a feasible reality for governments and commercial businesses around the world.

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