Mar 26, 2019 | Updated: 01:45 PM EDT

Japan Space Junk Collector Fails First Orbital Test

Feb 02, 2017 01:43 PM EST

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Japanese cargo ship set to launch for space station on Friday
Also aboard the resupply vehicle -- H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)-6 (Kounotori-6) -- are six new lithium-ion batteries and adapter plates that will replace the nickel-hydrogen batteries currently used on the station to store electrical energy generated by the station's solar arrays.

Japan has launched a cargo ship to the International Space Station with a space junk collector. It was made with the assistance provided by a fishnet company.

Kounotori, which means stork in Japanese, is the name of the said vessel. According to Space, there was a glitched that happened on its orbital test at first. Later on, it blasted on the southern part of the Tanegashima Island, Japan, not long before 10:27 p.m.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was working on the experiment with the use of a tether to bring out the junk in the orbit surrounding the Earth and clearing up the space clutter. This will be done with cast-off equipment from aged satellites and rocket pieces.

As the electricity from the tether swings in the magnetic field of the Earth, it is expected to have a slow motion effect on the space junk which should be pulled into a lower orbit. In due course, detritus will go through the Earth's atmosphere burning up before its chances of crashing to the surface of the planet. Japan's experts invested most of their time and effort for this mission.

It took over 10 long years before the project was developed with the joined forces of JAXA and fishnet manufacturer in Japan, Nitto Seimo. According to the company's engineer, Katsuya Suzuki, "The length of the tether this time is 700 meter (2,300 feet), but eventually, it's going to need to be 5,000 to 10,000-metre long to slow down the targeted space junk."

As reported in Dailymail, a spokesperson for the space agency hopes to place the collection of the junk into more often use in the middle of the next decade. He also added that if they were successful with the trial, another step of a test attaching one of the tether's tip to the targeted object. The cargo that was launched recently is also bringing other materials for the ISS including water and batteries for the astronauts who were living there.

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