TOKYO -- Japanese startup Astroscale launched a satellite on Monday designed to usher in an era of sustainable space flight by locating and retrieving used satellites and other space junk. The six-month demonstration project is the first of its kind by a commercial satellite operator.
The Astroscale debris removal spacecraft, called the End-of-Life Services by Astroscale Demonstration, or Elsa-D, was launched on a Russian-built Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The rocket is operated by GK Launch Services, a Russian company known for its reliability and low cost. The Elsa-D will be operated from a command center in the U.K.