Rocket Lab successfully launches Japanese commercial space junk demo satellite

Rocket Lab today successfully launched a commercial test mission of commercial space junk removal satellite, dubbed ADRAS-J and built by the Japanese company Astroscale, in partner with Japan’s space agency JAXA. It is designed to demonstrate the ability to make a close rendezvous of a large piece of space junk and then photograph and inspect it closely to determing it precise condition to facilitate later removal efforts.

The leaders in the 2024 launch race:

15 SpaceX
8 China
2 Iran
2 Russia
2 Japan
2 India
2 Rocket Lab

A lot of launch entities grouped at 2. Expect Iran and Japan to fall away as Russia, India, and Rocket Lab continue to launch regularly this year, with Russia and Rocket Lab eventually outpacing India.

American private enterprise now leads the entire world combined in successful launches 18 to 16, with SpaceX still trailing the entire world combined (excluding American companies) 15 to 16.