Private space-junk-inspection probe spots discarded rocket in orbit up close (photo)

Estimated read time 10 min read

This is how decades-old space junk drifting in Earth’s orbit would look like seen from just 50 meters (164 feet) away.

You are looking at the spent upper stage of a discarded Japanese rocket that launched an Earth observation satellite back in 2009. The rocket body was imaged up close on May 23 by the ADRAS-J satellite, which was designed by private Japanese company Astroscale to approach and study a non-communicative, uncontrollable piece of orbital debris. 

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