back to article Japan launches satellite to eyeball derelict rocket stage

A Japanese satellite lofted by Rocket Lab is to monitor a chunk of space junk ahead of future missions designed to curtail orbital debris. The 150 kg ADRAS-J satellite was launched on a Rocket Lab Electron from the company's Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand at 1452 UTC February 18. The plan is for the spacecraft to approach an …

  1. Lurko

    Is it just me...

    Or are rather too many of the efforts on cleaning up space junk coming from the countries that aren't the main offenders, and rather too few from those who are?

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Is it just me...

      As far as I can see, I haven't seen ANY actual efforts that deorbited/revived a dead satellite, except for the Shuttle STS-51A retrieval of Palapa B2 and Westar 6.

      I've seen a bunch of rendezvous operations, the MEV mission which was with the assistance of a working satellite, and this, which is yet another "rendezvous without really doing anything"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it just me...

      Russia has a plan for decluttering space. Nuke orbit from orbit. Sounds fine to me!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is it just me...

        The resulting EMP making lots of other satellites unpowered space junk - while doing very little in the way of deorbiting things - would tend to make this a REALLY bad idea.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Is it just me...

          So it's just like all the other Russian plans!

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Is it just me...

          Yup

          The USSR approached the USA with a proposal for banning nukes in space after a couple of diasterous experiments. The USA readily agreed because of their own disasterous experiment (Starfish Prime) - which killed Telstar despite that satellite being launched a week AFTER the nuke was tested

          (For the unaware: The nuke not only instantly killed everything in visible range, it took out stuff on the far side of the planet too. Telstar hit the charged particle clouds left behind (essentially a temporary low level Van Allen belt) and degraded rapidly)

          That said, I suspect this is a bogeyman. If anyone wants to actually "nuke" space a sounding rocket is more than sufficient to loft high enough to do serious damage and won't set off ICBM alerts

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is it just me...

        It's the only way to be sure.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Is it just me...

      are rather too many of the efforts on cleaning up space junk coming from the countries that aren't the main offenders, and rather too few from those who are?

      Possibly true. But asking nicely isn't likely to change their behaviour.

      However if we can come up with workable and affordable solutions - they may be more interested.

      Particularly if you can come up with options to keep exisiting satellites operating for longer, cheaper than launching replacements.

      It's a bit like climate change. I don't think you're going to persuade people not to want to have modern stuff, and a similar standard of living to people in richer countries. Nor, for that matter, are you likely to be able to persuade voters in richer countries to take a cut in their standard of living over several election cycles. So the answer is going to have to be to make the technology available to do things better, and make it cheap enough that using fossil fuels is the more expensive option.

      Finally, has anyone considered the most obvious answer? Space Wombles.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: Is it just me...

        Maybe not quite hitting the cadence, but here goes...

        Under-LEO, over-LEO, Wombling free.

        Space-Wombles of Earth-orbiting machines are we.

        Making good use of the things that we find.

        Things the US and Ruskies leave behind.

  2. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    Check out my junk

    By sending up more junk!

  3. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

    Rocket Lab named the mission "On Closer Inspection."

    That would have been a fine name for a Culture ship!

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