Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency To Test Effectiveness Of KITE To Tackle Space Junk

First Posted: Dec 20, 2016 06:17 AM EST

One of the major concerns of NASA is tackling and doing away with space junk. Japan also enthusiastically wants to do away with space junk. Indeed, the growing problem of space junk has been plaguing aerospace organizations; however,t JAXA clearly has been taking the lead.

In this area, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has put forth a brilliant way to manage the increasing problem of space junk.

What is Space Junk?

Space junk could be bits of asteroids, equipment or redundant satellites, which can create problems for safety of other spacecraft. They not only collide with each other but they can collide with satellites that are operational as well, reveals Inverse.

Japan's idea of lassoing the debris is worth considering. Japan plans to deploy a small spacecraft to bind pieces of debris and allow it to be dragged to a lower orbit. The next stage will involve both the small spacecraft and the tethered debris and allow it to burn up in the atmosphere, according to Forbes.

JAXA will soon begin testing the Kounotori Integrated Tether Experiments (KITE), a prototype that was delivered to the International Space Station (ISS). If these tests prove effective, the technology to manage space junk may be in force in the next 10 years.

The tests  performed by JAXA will help scientists ascertain the optimum technique to tether in order to get hold of the debris itself. This in itself is quite a challenge to lasso a moving debris. Of course, the craft will be assisted by operators sitting remotely and assisted by GPS and cameras to help guide the craft within range.

Not many agencies think of space junk. But this is a problem that needs to be tackled well and efficiently before it gets unmanageable. JAXA is especially concerned as it lost a satellite due to space junk problem last year.  


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