Astroscale wins contract to complete removal of large piece of space junk

Capitalism in space: Japan’s space agency JAXA has now awarded the orbital tug startup Astroscale a contract to complete the removal of an abandoned upper stage from a previously launched rocket.

Astroscale has already flown the first phase of this project, with its ADRAS-J tug flying in March and April a demo rendezvous mission with the rocket stage, getting to within several hundred meters of the stage. The second phase, now approved, will grab the stage with a robot arm and then de-orbit it. No date for the launch of that second phase was announced.