11/19/2020, 10.35
JAPAN
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Japanese start-up launches satellite to clean up space

Astroscale Holding’s space “scavenger” will be put into orbit by the Russian Soyuz rocket. Space debris threatens satellites. So far, 20,000 items of debris over 10 centimetres wide identified. The use of a robotic arm is also being studied.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Japanese startup will launch a satellite to remove space debris. The move was announced yesterday by the same company, Astroscale Holdings Inc. The test launch will take place next March; the satellite will be carried into space by the Russian Soyuz rocket, which will take off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Space “waste” includes old satellites and disused orbital stations. They pose a threat to satellite activities and the International Space Station. The Japanese Space Agency has so far identified 20,000 fragments more than 10 centimetres wide.

The scavenger satellite is 60 centimetres long and weighs 175 kg. It is designed to collect debris through solar panels.

Astroscale was founded in 2103 by Nobu Okada, a former finance ministry official. It plans to recover defunct satellites also with a robotic arm in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

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