Japanese cargo ship fly for one final supply before retiring

A Japanese cargo ship arrived on the International Space Station at the moment (Might 25) to make one remaining supply earlier than its fleet is retired.

The unpiloted HTV-9 spacecraft pulled as much as the house station early this morning to be captured by a robotic arm below the management of NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy. Cassidy, commander of the station’s Expedition 63 crew, snared the 12-ton spacecraft because it and the station sailed 260 miles (418 kilometers) above Tanzania.

“It was an honor for Expedition 63 to be a part of the ultimate HTV mission, a car that has contributed so enormously to the Worldwide House Station program,” Cassidy radioed to NASA’s Mission Management in Houston after capturing the spacecraft.

Constructed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Company (JAXA), HTV-9 — the identity is brief for H-II Switch Car 9 — is the newest in a sequence of disposable cargo ships which have hauled provides to the station since 2009. It launched from Japan’s Tanegashima House Middle on Wednesday (Might 20) atop a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIB rocket, which additionally made its remaining flight with this mission.

JAXA is retiring its HTV spacecraft to make an approach for a brand new cargo ship referred to as the HTV-X, which is able to launch on a brand new rocket, the H-III booster, starting in 2022.

“At present’s arrival of the ultimate within the sequence of this style of HTV autos marks a transition to a brand new and much more successful car within the HTV-X which is able to quickly make its debut,” spacecraft communicator Leslie Ringo radioed the station crew from Mission Management on the Johnson House Middle.

The HTV-X Japanese cargo ship will be capable to dock itself on the station, eliminating the necessity for astronauts to pluck the car from the house with a robotic arm. The brand new spacecraft can even embrace a reusable pressurized module to fly cargo to and from the station.

Japan’s HTV spacecraft, generally known as Kounotori (Japanese for “white stork”), is 33 ft (10 meters) lengthy and 14 ft (4.Four m) large. They will haul as much as 6 tons (5.Four metric tons) of provides to the house station, both inside a pressurized compartment or in an exterior pallet to be used exterior.

The HTV-9 spacecraft is carrying greater than 8,000 lbs. (3,600 kilograms) of provides for the station’s crew, together with important new batteries for the station’s photovoltaic arrays that will likely be put in throughout a sequence of spacewalks later this 12 months. HTV-9 Japanese cargo ship is carrying meals, water, and science gear for the station’s crew. It is usually testing a brand new wi-fi communication system on the station that will likely be utilized by the HTV-X car, NASA officers mentioned.

In keeping with JAXA, HTV-9 can be delivering the “world’s first house avatar” within the type of a camera-equipped robotic that can permit customers on the bottom to “see, hear, really feel, and work together freely” with the station’s inside. The venture is a part of an industrial partnership with ANA Holdings in Japan.

HTV-9 will likely be hooked up to an Earth-facing port on the station’s Concord module for about two months earlier than being full of trash and launched from the station to expend in Earth’s environment.

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