Japanese Space Junk Cargo Craft Mission Miserably Fails

Image credits: JAXA

Since the first Space exploration mission On October 4, 1957, where the Soviets launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, there has been devastatingly increased number in Space related mission. By the end of 2017, this number is expected to cross several thousand.

Some of these missions are still operational and providing interesting data which will be helpful for humankind in space exploration. But on another hand, the failed missions and the thousands of tons of the debris of space crafts are still in Vacuum.

Till the date, over 100 million pieces of garbage are thought to be whizzing around the planet, including cast-off equipment from old satellites and bits of the rocket, which experts say could pose risks for future space exploration.

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An artist’s impression from 2008 of the space debris in orbit around Earth. Photo credits: European Space Agency / Rex Feat


Many countries tried to launch missions to clear this Space Junk but failed miserably.

Recently Japanese space exploration team launched a mission to clear space junk from Earth’s orbit. But this mission has ended in failure, officials said Monday, in an embarrassment for Tokyo.

Scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) were trying to test an electrodynamic ‘tether’—created with the help of a fishing net company—to slow down the orbiting rubbish and bring it into a lower orbit.

The hope was that the clutter—built up after more than five decades of human space exploration—would eventually enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up harmlessly before it had a chance to crash into the planet.

The 700-meter (2,300-foot) long tether—made from thin wires of stainless steel and aluminium—was due to be extended out from a cargo ship launched in December carrying supplies for astronauts at the International Space Station. 

The spacecraft, named HTV-6, arrived at the space station in December filled with 5 tons of food, water, clothes, science experiments and other gear. It intentionally burned up in Earth’s atmosphere at 10:06 a.m. EST on Sunday (12:06 a.m. Japan Standard Time), according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The HTV-6 spent 45 days docked at the station’s Harmony module while Expedition 50 crew members unloaded the cargo and filled the empty space with non-recyclable trash.

Problems arose quickly, however, and technicians tried for days to remedy the situation but only had a one-week window to carry out the mission before the vessel reentered the Earth’s atmosphere before dawn on Monday.

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Over 100 million pieces of garbage are thought to be whizzing around the planet. Image credits: ESA

“We believe the tether did not get released,” leading researcher Koichi Inoue from JAXA told reporters.

“It is certainly disappointing that we ended the mission without completing one of the main objectives,” he said.

The disappointment is the latest failure to hit JAXA and comes just weeks after the agency had to abort a mission that sought to use a mini-rocket to send a satellite into orbit.

The agency also abandoned a pricey ultra-high-tech satellite launched in February last year to search for X-rays emanating from black holes and galaxy clusters after losing contact with the spacecraft.

JAXA will continue trying to remedy the situation before the cargo ship is expected to reenter the atmosphere on Saturday, the agency added.
Read More:

Japan goes fishing for space junk but 700-metre ‘tether’ fails

Japan ‘space junk’ collector in trouble

This would happen if a black hole of size 1mm appears on Earth


Source phys.org

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