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Render of Astroscale's ADRAS-J satellite, to be launched by Rocket Lab's Electron launch vehicle.
Astroscale
March 30, 2022 6:21 AM EDT

Low earth orbit is a mess, with a belt of debris presenting a risk of collision with spacecraft. Tokyo-based Astroscale is developing technology to collect the junk and send it on an incineration plunge through the atmosphere. Last year, the company launched a two-part satellite that separated and reconnected by magnets, demonstrating a debris-gathering technique. The company wants future satellites to carry magnetic docking ports to allow for collection. Astroscale’s vision, says CEO Nobu Okada, is “to make space sustainable.

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Write to Jeffrey Kluger at jeffrey.kluger@time.com.

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