The space has been accumulating cosmic junk caused by over half a century of space exploration. Around more than 500,000 pieces of “space junk” are being tracked by NASA currently. This “space junk” includes millions of tiny fragments of old satellites and spent rocket stages. Not only that, but many of these fragments travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, which can cause a great deal of damage on a satellite or even the ISS.
Due to the potential problem of a collision of space junk, many space agencies are trying to figure out a solution. Japan’s space agency (JAXA) launched Kounotori 6 on Friday, that will deliver a magnetic tether. The tether is made of stainless steel and aluminum. The true purpose of the tether is to generate enough slowing effect to influence the trajectory of space debris, and let it redirect it towards Earth’s atmosphere. After travelling close to Earth’s atmosphere, the space debris will burn up.
Currently the length of the tether is 700 meters only. If the trial is successful then the length will eventually increase to 5,000 or 10,000 meters said Nitto Seimo’s engineer Katsuya Suzuki.