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WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2018 / – A Japanese cargo ship loaded with more than five tons of supplies, water, spare parts and experiments is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station at 6:32 p.m. EDT Monday, Sept. 10 (7:32 a.m. Sept. 11 in Japan). Live coverage of the launch and capture will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) unpiloted H-II Transport Vehicle-7 (HTV-7) is scheduled to lift off from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan nine years to the day after the flight of the first HTV cargo spacecraft. Live coverage will begin at 6 p.m.
HTV-7 will arrive at the space station Friday, Sept. 14. Live coverage of spacecraft rendezvous will begin at 6 a.m.Expedition 56 Commander Drew Feustel and Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA will operate the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture the spacecraft as it approaches from below. Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) will monitor HTV-7 systems during its approach to the orbiting complex. Capture is scheduled for around 7:40 a.m. After a break, NASA TV coverage will resume at 11 a.m. for spacecraft installation to the space station’s Harmony module by ground controllers operating Canadarm2 remotely.
Named Kounotori, White Stork in Japanese, the unpiloted cargo spacecraft is loaded with six new lithium-ion batteries and adapter plates to replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries that makeup part of the station’s electrical power system. The batteries will be replaced through a series of robotic operations and two spacewalks planned for Sept. 20and 26.
Also aboard HTV-7 is a small reentry capsule designed by JAXA that will be assembled by the station crew prior to HTV-7’s departure this fall. The cone-shaped capsule, measuring 2 feet high and 2.7 feet wide, is an experimental technology demonstration designed to test JAXA’s ability to return small Japanese science payloads from the station for expedited delivery to researchers. Following HTV-7’s departure from the station and several deorbit maneuvers, the capsule will be ejected from the spacecraft’s hatch for a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of Japan, where a JAXA ship will recover it.
Additional experiments and equipment in HTV-7 include a new sample holder for the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (JAXA-ELF), a protein crystal growth experiment at low temperatures (JAXA LT PCG), an investigation that looks at the effect of microgravity on bone marrow (MARROW), a Life Sciences Glovebox, and additional EXPRESS Racks.
HTV-7 will reenter Earth’s atmosphere after its deorbit maneuvers to burn up harmlessly over the South Pacific Ocean this fall.