Monday, 23 January 2017

Space Junk Collector into Orbit by Japan


Japan has launched a cargo ship bound for the ISS (International Space Station), carrying a ‘space junk’ collector which was made with the help of a fishnet company. Scientists at the JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) are experimenting with a tether to pull junk out of orbit around Earth, clearing up huge space clutter including cast-off equipment from old satellites and pieces of rocket.
a) The cargo ship is also carrying other materials for the ISS including batteries and drinking water for the astronauts living there.
b)More than 50 years of human space observation since the Soviet-launched Sputnik satellite in 1957 has produced this dangerous belt of orbiting debris.
c)There are estimated to be more than 100 million pieces in orbit, assuming a growing threat to future space exploration.
d)Researchers are using a so-called electrodynamics tether made from thin wires of stainless steel and aluminium.
e)The logic is that one end of the strip will be attached to debris which can damage working equipment—there are hundreds of collisions every year.
f) The capsule — called Kounotori, or white stork — contains nearly 5 tons of food, water and other supplies, including six new lithium-ion batteries for the station’s solar power system. Astronauts will manage spacewalks next month to replace the old nickel-hydrogen batteries that store energy generated by the station’s big solar panels.
g) This is Japan’s sixth shipment to the 250-mile-high outpost, is currently home to Pesquet, two Americans and three Russians. It launched from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.