A Japanese H-2B rocket lifts off with the eighth HTV resupply freighter. Credit: MHI/JAXA
A Japanese H-2B rocket fired into orbit Tuesday from the Tanegashima Space Center with an automated cargo freighter loaded with more than 4.1 tons of batteries, experiments, spacewalk equipment, water and provisions for the International Space Station.
The unpiloted cargo ship lifted off at 1605:05 GMT (12:05:05 p.m. EDT) Tuesday from Launch Pad No. 2 at Tanegashima, an oceanfront spaceport on an island in southern Japan.
The 186-foot-tall (56.6-meter) H-2B rocket proceeded through an apparently trouble-free countdown Tuesday. After filling the rocket with super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants, the H-2B launch team managed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries gave approval to proceed with final launch preps, culminating in ignition of two liquid-fueled LE-7A main engines at T-minus 5.2 seconds.
After passing a computer-run health check, the H-2B rocket fired four strap-on solid rocket boosters to climb away from the Tanegashima Space Center with more than 2 million pounds of thrust.
Liftoff occurred at 1:05 a.m. local time in Japan, two weeks after a previous H-2B countdown was halted by a dramatic fire on the launch pad.
Japanese engineers called off the missions first launch attempt Sept. 10 after the fire, and ground crews returned the H-2B rocket to its assembly building for inspections. Officials determined the fire was likely caused by static electricity and high concentrations of oxygen that dripped from the rockets main engines during the Sept. 10 countdown.
After instituting unspecific corrective actions, MHI returned the H-2B rocket to the launch pad a half-day before Tuesdays launch to begin a new countdown.
No such trouble occurred Tuesday, and the H-2B rocket quickly turned to the southeast to climb into space over the Pacific Ocean. The precise launch time Tuesday was set to allow Japans eighth H-2 Transfer Vehicle to enter an orbit aligned with the orbital plane of the International Space Station, setting the stage for an automated laser-guided rendezvous Saturday.
The H-2B rocket shed its four solid rocket boosters, payload fairing, and first stage in the first six minutes of the mission. A second stage powered by a single hydrogen-fueled LE-5B engine delivered the HTV supply ship into a preliminary orbit around 15 minutes after liftoff.
Japanese mission controllers confirmed the barrel-shaped HTV launched into an on-target orbit, and the cargo freighter began charging its batteries with its body-mounted solar panels.
Tuesdays launch made the H-2B rocket eight-for-eight in launches since debuting on Japans first HTV resupply mission in 2009.
The HTV 8 mission is also known as Kounotori 8. Kounotori means white stork in Japanese.
Packed with some 8,326 pounds (3,777 kilograms) of equipment, experiments and crew provisions, the Kounotori 8 spacecraft will approach the space station in autopilot mode Saturday. The space station crew will use the labs Canadian-built robotic arm to capture the HTV supply ship around 7:15 a.m. EDT (1115 GMT) Saturday, then bring the spacecraft to a berthing port on the stations Harmony module.
The crew inside the station will get to work unpacking 5,313 pounds (2,410 kilograms) of cargo inside the HTVs pressurized logistics carrier. Meanwhile, robots outside the station will extract a pallet from the HTVs unpressurized cargo bay containing six lithium-ion batteries to upgrade the space stations power system.
Astronauts Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan on the space station will conduct five spacewalks the first is set for Oct. 6 to begin installing the fresh batteries, which will replace aging and less-capable nickel-hydrogen batteries on the P6 solar array module on the far port side of the stations truss backbone.
The Kounotori 8 mission will deliver the third set of six lithium-ion batteries to upgrade the space stations four huge U.S.-built external power modules, each of which features solar array wings that span 240 feet (73 meters) tip-to-tip. The sixth HTV mission in 2016 carried the first set of new batteries to the station, followed by a second batch last year on the Kounotori 7 resupply mission.
A final set of six batteries will launch on the ninth HTV flight next year.
Each solar array section powers two electrical channels with 12 charging nickel-hydrogen batteries, and NASA is replacing the old batteries in power truss section with six lighter, more efficient lithium-ion batteries.
JAXA uses the HTV missions as part of its contribution to the space station program. Each HTV cargo freighter measures about 33 feet (10 meters) long and about 14 feet (4.4 meters) in diameter.
The Kounotori 8 mission is also carrying food, fresh drinking water, a high-pressure gas tank to recharge the space stations internal atmosphere with oxygen and nitrogen, and spacewalking tools, such as high-definition cameras and equipment for a series of repair spacewalks planned later this year for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 cosmic ray experiment.
The HTV will also deliver research payloads to the space station.
One of the experiments will demonstrate a high-speed satellite laser communications system developed by JAXA and Sony Computer Science Laboratories. The technology demonstrator will test a laser link with a ground station, which can accommodate higher-bandwidth communications than radio systems.
This technology, which employs a laser for in-orbit mass-data communication, will likely be widely used not only in the telecommunications industry, but in the future as a means of communication in the field of exploration, said Koichi Wakata, a JAXA vice president, in a statement. Specifically, it can be used as a means of communication between the Earth and the International Space Station, the moon, and Mars. There is a wide range of potential applications, such as communication with the moon rovers.
TheSmall Optical Link for International Space Station, or SOLISS, experiment willbe mounted on an experiment platform outside the space stations Japanese Kibo laboratory module.
Sony CSL is taking advantage of the in-orbit demonstrations to complete our long-distance laser communication system, said Hiroaki Kitano, president of Sony CSL. It will be the first step for Sony to build upon the results of these demonstrations and put it into practical use in society as we commercialize it.
The opportunity to use Kibo for the in-orbit demonstrations makes it possible to greatly advance the research and development of the optical communication system, much more quickly than if we had launched a small satellite for the same purpose on our own, Kitano said. The SOLISS system is built using consumer components. After the demonstrations, we will retrieve the SOLISS unit and perform follow-up analyses, which we expect will further accelerate our commercialization process.
Japans Hourglass experiment also launched on the eighth HTV mission to help scientists investigate the behavior of soil and rock particles under low gravity, simulating the conditions future probes might encounter on a small planet or asteroid.
New hardware for a cellular biology experiment rack is also flying to the space station on the Kounotori 8 spacecraft, expanding the stations capabilities for biological research.
Three CubeSats are also riding to the station inside the Kounotori 8 spacecraft. Once they arrive at the station, astronauts will transfer them to the Japanese Kibo module, where they will install them into a deployer for release into orbit through an airlock.
The 2-pound (1-kilogram) NARSSCube 1 nanosatellite was developed by Egypts National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Science in partnership with the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. It carries a low-resolution imaging camera.
The AQT-D CubeSat, which weighs 8.1 pounds (3.7 kilograms) and is about the size of a shoebox, will demonstrate a water-based satellite propulsion system. The AQT-D mission is led by the University of Tokyo.
Rwandas first satellite, named RWASAT 1, also launched Tuesday. Officials say the satellite will aid agricultural and environmental monitoring.
The Japanese HTV cargo delivery flight is the first of two missions launching to the International Space Station in less than 24 hours.
A Russian Soyuz crew ferry ship is set for liftoff Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with Russian cosmonaut, NASA astronaut and the first Emirati space flier. The Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft will reach the station less than six hours after liftoff, while the HTV cargo mission is taking a longer rendezvous profile.
Email the author.
Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.
See original here:
- Back-to-back launches scheduled from Cape Canaveral this weekend - Spaceflight Now - May 15th, 2020
- Virgin Galactic job application looking to hire pilots for spaceflight - Business Insider - Business Insider - May 15th, 2020
- Curiosity mission team operates rover from home - SpaceFlight Insider - May 15th, 2020
- The X-37B Space Plane's Microwave Beam Experiment Is A Way Bigger Deal Than It Seems - The Drive - May 15th, 2020
- Salad seeds sent to outer space 'grew slightly slower when planted on Earth' - The Irish News - May 15th, 2020
- Pluto's wispy atmosphere may be surprisingly robust - Space.com - May 15th, 2020
- Hopeful for launch next year, NASA aims to resume SLS operations within weeks - Spaceflight Now - May 5th, 2020
- The UAE is going to Mars. Here's the plan for its Hope orbiter. - Space.com - May 5th, 2020
- Virgin Galactic readies space tourism trips with first Spaceport America flight - Digital Trends - May 5th, 2020
- UC Berkeley Lab to build NOAA space weather instrument - SpaceNews - May 5th, 2020
- Stay home, reflect and be part of something bigger: Sunita Williams to Indian students stuck in US - Economic Times - May 5th, 2020
- Soyuz launches from Kazakhstan with space station supply ship - Spaceflight Now - April 26th, 2020
- Long space flights can increase the volume of astronauts' brains - New Scientist News - April 26th, 2020
- How engineers are operating space missions from their homes - The Verge - April 26th, 2020
- A Brief History of Chimps in Space - Discover Magazine - April 26th, 2020
- Starlink satellites: When and how to see them flying over Nottinghamshire tonight - Nottinghamshire Live - April 26th, 2020
- UAE's Mars Hope Probe on its way amid Covid-19 pandemic - Khaleej Times - April 26th, 2020
- Visiting the Bottom of the Mariana Trench Sounds Pretty Appealing Right Now - Popular Mechanics - April 1st, 2020
- Welders wanted: SpaceX is hiring to ramp up production of stainless steel Starship - Space.com - April 1st, 2020
- When you can see the 'train' of Starlink satellites flying over Greater Manchester and the UK - Manchester Evening News - April 1st, 2020
- Launch of ExoMars rover delayed to 2022 Spaceflight Now - Spaceflight Now - March 13th, 2020
- NASA could have a timeline for Boeing's next Starliner flight by the end of the month - Space.com - March 13th, 2020
- A Solar System of Fire and Ice - The Atlantic - March 13th, 2020
- A new way to provide internet for the masses from space - Politico - March 13th, 2020
- 3D beating heart tissue experiment heads to Space Station - UW Medicine Newsroom - March 13th, 2020
- Watch how the only woman in space today celebrated International Women's Day - Space.com - March 13th, 2020
- The most innovative space companies of 2020 - Fast Company - March 13th, 2020
- Space mining could lead to string of human colonies on alien planets - The Sun - March 13th, 2020
- All Alone in Interstellar Space, Voyager 2 Is About to Lose Contact With Home - ScienceAlert - March 13th, 2020
- Kaboom! The Biggest Space Bloopers of 2019 - Space.com - December 27th, 2019
- 'I Can't Wait to Try It Out': Starliner's 1st Riders Welcome Capsule Back to Earth - Space.com - December 27th, 2019
- U.S. tests ways to sweep space clean of radiation after nuclear attack - Science Magazine - December 27th, 2019
- SpaceX Says A Step Closer to Launching Manned Space Mission - International Business Times - December 27th, 2019
- Christmas Eve at the Moon: Apollo 8's Historic Message Beamed to Earth Today in 1968 - Space.com - December 27th, 2019
- Hurricane season is over, but threats to Space Coast rocket launches are still out there - Florida Today - December 27th, 2019
- ULA gets the nod to launch GOES-T satellite - SpaceFlight Insider - December 27th, 2019
- 10 Things That Blasted Through Space in 2019 - Space.com - December 27th, 2019
- SpaceX poised to accelerate launch cadence with series of Starlink missions - Spaceflight Now - December 21st, 2019
- Human Spaceflight In 2020: What Lies Ahead - Forbes - December 21st, 2019
- Will commercial space flight be like Ad Astra? We went to a flight base to check it out - SYFY WIRE - December 21st, 2019
- Timeline of Soyuz launch with CSG 1 and CHEOPS - Spaceflight Now - December 21st, 2019
- Successful launch continues deployment of SpaceX's Starlink network - Spaceflight Now - November 11th, 2019
- What it takes to be a space pilot - Astronomy Magazine - November 11th, 2019
- Spaceflight alters heart cells but they quickly recover back on Earth - New Scientist News - November 11th, 2019
- 4 Things to Know About New Space Company Virgin Galactic - Motley Fool - November 11th, 2019
- Mercury is making a rare 'transit' across the sun. Here's how to watch. - NBCNews.com - November 11th, 2019
- Japanese 'Shooting-Star' Satellite to Launch on Landmark Rocket Lab Flight This Month - Space.com - November 11th, 2019
- The Importance of Spacecraft Abort Tests - Forbes - November 11th, 2019
- Buy Virgin Galactic stock because space tourism will be safer than you think, analyst says - CNBC - November 11th, 2019
- Now in space, a cutting-edge satellite the size of a shoebox, and UW students built it - Seattle Times - November 11th, 2019
- Human Heart Cells Transform in Space; Return to Normal on Earth: Study - The Weather Channel - November 11th, 2019
- NASA Marshall expands ties with UA to advance in-space manufacturing - Made In Alabama - November 11th, 2019
- Can We Genetically Engineer Humans to Survive Missions to Mars? - Space.com - November 11th, 2019
- NASA's SOFIA Observatory: The Flying Telescope - Space.com - November 11th, 2019
- Massive Space Explosion Releases as Much Energy in 20 Seconds as Sun Does in 10 Days - The Weather Channel - November 11th, 2019
- Airstream Enjoys Return to U.S. Space Program in Partnership with Boeing - Chief Executive Group - November 11th, 2019
- 'Star Trek,' Space Travel and Teleportation with Tig Notaro - Space.com - November 11th, 2019
- Space station receives spacewalking gear, new baking oven - Spaceflight Now - November 6th, 2019
- A Journey to Mars Starts on the Space Station - Space.com - November 6th, 2019
- Historic space flight artifacts donated by legendary cosmonaut displayed at space museum in Weatherford - KFOR Oklahoma City - November 6th, 2019
- Virgin Galactic: From Space To The Stock Market - Forbes - November 6th, 2019
- Virgin Galactic's high-risk space adventure will likely pay off - Space Daily - November 6th, 2019
- SAIC and Sinequa Align to Deliver an Intelligent Search Experience to NASA Marshall Space Flight Center SAIC and Sinequa Align to Deliver an... - November 6th, 2019
- Mars Society Founder Makes Case for 'Mars Direct' Path to the Red Planet - Space.com - November 6th, 2019
- Are there any realistic spaceflight technologies from Star Wars? - MIT Technology Review - November 6th, 2019
- Virgin Galactic Stock Finds Its First Fan on Wall Street - Motley Fool - November 6th, 2019
- NASA's Voyager Spacecraft May Have 5 Years Left to Explore Interstellar Space - Space.com - November 6th, 2019
- The White House puts a price on the SLS rocketand it's a lot - Ars Technica - November 6th, 2019
- NASA Has a New Method For Cooling Down Electronics Crammed Together in a Spacecraft - Universe Today - November 6th, 2019
- Bezos says space industry stalwarts will help Blue Origin build moon lander - Spaceflight Now - October 24th, 2019
- Army astronaut to military medical students: You will solve the health issues of extended space flight - ArmyTimes.com - October 24th, 2019
- Virgin Galactic is set to trade on the NYSE on Monday as the first space tourism stock - CNBC - October 24th, 2019
- Now You Can Buy The Worlds First Spaceship Stock - Forbes - October 24th, 2019
- Rocket Lab Aims for the Moon and Beyond with New Photon Satellite Platform - Space.com - October 24th, 2019
- Here's What China's Yutu 2 Rover Found on the Far Side of the Moon (Photos) - Space.com - October 24th, 2019
- China Releases a New Photo of The Mystery Substance They Found on The Moon - ScienceAlert - October 24th, 2019
- DLR pursues international cooperation and future technologies for spaceflight - Space Daily - October 24th, 2019
- Finally, a Clear Look at the Weird Substance China Found on the Moon - VICE - October 24th, 2019
- Suborbital spacefliers will get pinned by the Association of Space Explorers - GeekWire - October 24th, 2019
- The space powers have gathered. Wheres China? - Quartz - October 24th, 2019