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Rocket Lab wins launch rights to Astroscale’s debris removal mission

Image: Astroscale

Edinburgh, 23 September 2021. – Rocket Lab has signed a contract with Astroscale Japan to launch the Active Debris Removal by the Astroscale-Japan (ADRAS-J) satellite.

Astroscale is dedicated to on-orbit servicing across all orbits. Founded in 2013, the company claims to be developing scalable solutions for life extension, in-situ space situational awareness, end-of-life services, and active debris removal.

ADRAS-J, selected by JAXA for Phase I of its Commercial Removal of Debris Demonstration Project (CRD2), will be launched by an Electron rocket. This will be one of the first technology demonstrations of large-scale debris removal from orbit. Once deployed, the ADRAS-J satellite is designed to meet with a long abandoned upper stage rocket body.

ADRAS-J will carry out proximity operations and obtain images of the orbital debris. Lift-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 is scheduled for 2023. The second phase of the mission to validate the de-orbiting of the debris is yet to be completed.

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