JAXA’S Mission to Clear the Space Junk Turns out to Be a Failure
The intention of the Japanese mission was to test the technology created for clearing the debris in space which was confirmed to be a failure by their space agency, JAXA (Japan’s Space Agency). Though the experimental part of the mission was a failure, the Kounotori successfully delivered the supplies to international space station after the launch in December. The Kountori 6 cargos were returned to Earth and burned up in the atmosphere on Monday, according to the officials.
Kountori 6, the sixth flight of H-II transfer vehicle is spacecraft launched to resupply the international space station carried a 700 meter metal tether which was built to slow down the space junk & brought back to earth with electromagnetic force.
earth with electromagnetic force
Picture Courtesy: www.nasa.gov
There was some issues regarding the release of tether and the technicians were unable to fix it, says the agency. After the failed attempts of the agency to put the SS 520-4 rocket into the orbit last month, it was the second notable setback to hit the JAXA agency in recent weeks.
Across low orbit, there are 500,000 pieces of debris even larger than half inch, estimated by NASA which is posing a threat to 780 odd satellites operating in the area. For instance, the ISS is guarded for objects over half an inch across but can only track the pieces of the debris which are larger than 2 inches.
Over 100 million pieces of debris are whizzing around the planet, including old satellite casts and rocket bits which the experts say can be risky for future exploration of space. JAXA scientists were testing the tether with a fishing net company to slow down the orbiting rubbish thus bringing it into a lower orbit.
Picture Courtesy: i.ytimg.com
The clutter, built up after 5 decades of human space exploration will gradually enter the Earth’s atmosphere & burn up harmlessly before it had a chance to crash the planet. The tether was made from stainless steel wires and aluminium. It was due to be extended out from a cargo ship carrying supplies at International Space Station for astronauts.
exploration of space
Picture Courtesy: wallpaperswide.com
Problems like this rises rapidly and technicians try to remedy the situation but only had a week’s margin to carry out the mission before the vessel can re-enter the atmosphere on Earth. The tether did not get released and is certainly disappointing that the mission was ended without the completion of main target.