Astroscale Leads the World’s First Attempt to Survey Debris through RPO

Posted March 30th, 2023 Posted in News

The ADRAS-J mission is scheduled to begin in Japan Fiscal Year (JFY) 2023. 

Tokyo, Japan, Mar. 30, 2023 – Astroscale Japan Inc. (“Astroscale Japan”), a subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, has shifted the mission timeframe of a commercial debris inspection demonstration satellite, the Active Debris Removal by Astroscale-Japan (ADRAS-J), from JFY2022 to JFY2023.  

Astroscale Japan was previously contracted as a partner by JAXA for Phase I of its Commercial Removal of Debris Demonstration (CRD2) mission. ADRAS-J will carry out Phase I and is scheduled for liftoff on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand. Once deployed to a precise orbit, the ADRAS-J satellite is designed to rendezvous with a Japanese upper stage rocket body, demonstrate proximity operations, and obtain images, delivering observational data to better understand the condition and degradation of debris left in orbit for a long period of time. This mission is the world’s first attempt to safely approach, characterize and survey the state of an existing piece of large debris through Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO). This is an essential element of on-orbit servicing, particularly for debris removal, and this mission will demonstrate all RPO processes aside from capture and de-orbit. The mission was originally scheduled to be launched in JFY2022, but due to an update in the satellite development schedule, the launch timeframe has shifted to JFY2023. 

During the ADRAS-J mission, Astroscale will take measures for safety and transparency based on theGuidelines on a License to Operate a Spacecraft Performing On-Orbit Servicing,” issued by the Japanese government in November 2021.  ADRAS-J will be a pioneering mission for demonstrating the regulations and operational practices, as well as the technology, for safe and secure on-orbit services. As the world’s first demonstration of its kind, ADRAS-J will serve as a catalyst for discussions on how to make ADR a feasible reality for governments and commercial businesses around the world.   

In August 2022, Astroscale was also selected as one of the contracting parties for the front-loading technology study for Phase II of CRD2, which is focusing on the ground test of development hardware and software that are key for two critical areas of the Phase II mission: close proximity operations and the capture mechanism design. The results of this conceptual study will be used as a reference for the technical feasibility of Phase II. Participating in this study is a necessary step to be considered by JAXA as the satellite and mission provider for the CRD2 Phase II mission. 


For more information about CRD2, visit
For more information about ADRAS-J, visit