Astroscale Selected by Government of Japan for On-orbit Inspection Demonstration Mission

Astroscale Selected by Government of Japan for On-orbit Inspection Demonstration Mission

Astroscale Japan, a subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings, announced it has been selected by the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (“MEXT”) for its Small and Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to develop an on-orbit inspection demonstration mission that will image and diagnose a large, defunct satellite in space. 

The MEXT-funded project is divided into three phases, and Astroscale Japan will receive up to JPY 2.69 billion (approximately U.S. $18 million) for Phase 1, and up to JPY 12 billion (approximately U.S. $80 million) in total for all three phases. Mission development will begin this month with a maximum term of up to March 2028.

The SBIR program was established to promote research and development for Japanese startups and organizations engaged in advancing innovative technologies and to facilitate the smooth implementation of results through government support. The call for application was announced in July 2023, and Astroscale Japan was selected in the space category for its “Development and Demonstration of Technologies and Systems for Removing Satellites and Other Objects from Orbit” project under the “Development and Demonstration of Technologies Required for Space Debris Reduction” theme.

The MEXT-funded mission will further advance Astroscale’s heritage Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO) capabilities, in addition to inspection and characterization capabilities for a diverse range of active spacecraft and large debris objects in space. Astrosale Japan will launch a similar mission later this year that will inspect and characterize a spent upper-stage rocket body. Active Debris Removal by Astroscale-Japan (ADRAS-J) is the world’s first attempt to safely approach, characterize, and survey the state of an existing piece of large debris through RPO. During this mission, ADRAS-J is designed to rendezvous with a Japanese upper stage, demonstrate proximity operations, and gather images to assess the rocket body’s condition, including spin rate, spin axis, and condition of the structure.

A key challenge of missions is that unprepared objects, such as spent upper stages and defunct satellites, do not provide any GPS data, meaning the precise location and orbital position needed for an RPO mission is not available. Once deployed to a precise orbit, Astroscale’s servicer spacecraft will first use ground-based observation data of the client’s approximate orbital position to approach the client from a longer distance, then switch over to its own sensors for a safe close approach and inspection of the client. These missions will demonstrate the most challenging RPO capabilities necessary for on-orbit services, including debris removal.

Click here to learn about Astroscale’s Active Debris Removal (ADR) Service.

Publisher: SatNow
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GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013