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Final H-2B rocket launch sends Japanese supply ship toward space station
May 20, 2020 Stephen Clark


A 186-foot-tall (56.6-meter) H-2B rocket fires into the sky from Tanegashima Space Center, Japan. Credit: JAXA

The ninth and final flight of Japan’s H-2B rocket — the country’s most powerful launcher — drove an automated cargo freighter into orbit Wednesday on a five-day pursuit of the International Space Station.

The 186-foot-tall (56.6-meter) launcher lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan at 1731 GMT (1:31 p.m. EDT) Wednesday, sending an HTV supply ship into space with 2.5 million pounds of thrust from four solid rocket boosters and two hydrogen-fueled core engines.

Wednesday’s launch was the last in a series of nine H-2B rockets, and also marked the ninth and final flight of Japan’s current-generation barrel-shaped HTV cargo carriers. Japan is developing a more capable supply freighter named the HTV-X, which will deliver heavier payloads to the space station.

The HTV-X is scheduled for its first flight to the space station in 2022, and it’s designed to eventually fly supplies to the planned Gateway mini-space station in orbit around the moon.

The H-2B and the less powerful H-2A rocket will be replaced by a new Japanese launcher named the H3, which will launch the HTV-X missions.. MHI and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, are jointly developing the H3 rocket, which could be ready for an inaugural test flight before the end of 2020.

JAXA provides resupply services to the space station to help pay for Japan’s share of the the research lab’s operating costs.

The HTV spacecraft is nicknamed Kounotori, which is Japanese for “white stork,” and stretches around 33 feet (10 meters) long and 14 feet (4.4 meters) wide. The ninth HTV mission, or Kounotori 9, is packed with more than 13,600 pounds, or 6.2 metric tons, of cargo, supplies and experiments in its pressurized module and on its external payload bay, according to JAXA.

The unpressurized cargo consists of the six new lithium-ion batteries stowed on a pallet inside the HTV’s external payload compartment.

The Japanese freighter will also deliver hardware for government, university and commercial experiments.

One of the payloads packed inside the ninth HTV mission is a module to support a Japanese combustion experiment. The investigation will “scientifically determine the role of gravity in different modes of combustion, such as ignition of solid materials and spreading of flames on various solid materials in the ISS’s environment,” JAXA said on its website.

The HTV is also carrying a camera designed by a Spanish company named Satlantis, which aims to demonstrate the performance of the imaging unit on a platform outside the space station’s Kibo laboratory. Similar cameras could become a standard for future Earth-imaging CubeSats and microsatellites, according to Satlantis.



A Japanese H-2B rocket streaks downrange from the Tanegashima Space Center. Credit: JAXA

Japan’s space agency is also delivering new science racks for to the space station NASA and the European Space Agency, plus a water tank and fresh food for the research lab’s crew.

Controlled by station commander Chris Cassidy, Canadian-built robotic arm will capture the Japanese cargo freighter around 1215 GMT (8:15 a.m. EDT) Monday, two days before the launch of a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the first crewed orbital flight from U.S. soil since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.

Assuming it launches May 27, the Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock with the space station May 28.

The arrivals of the HTV and Crew Dragon in quick succession will make for a busy few days on the space station, which is operating with a limited crew of three, and just one NASA astronaut responsible for the U.S. segment of the orbiting outpost.

Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will fly to the space station on the Demo-2 flight. Their stay at the station could last one-to-four months

Hurley and Behnken will assist Cassidy — the sole NASA crew member currently on the station — with experiments and spacewalks. Behnken and Cassidy are slated to perform several spacewalks as early as June to install the lithium-ion batteries to be delivered by the HTV mission.

Inside the station, Hurley will operate the research lab’s robotic arm to move Cassidy and Behnken around during the spacewalks. The batteries on the ninth HTV flight will be installed on the space station’s outboard S6 segment on the far starboard side of the craft’s 356-foot-long (108.5-meter) truss structure.

Once the battery spacewalks are complete, old nickel-hydrogen batteries replaced by the new lithium-ion units will be loaded into the HTV’s external cargo pallet and disposed during the cargo ship’s destructive re-entry at the end of its mission.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/05/20/final-h-2b-rocket-launch-sends-japanese-supply-ship-toward-space-station/
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Japan’s HTV ready for launch with last set of new space station solar batteries
May 19, 2020 Stephen Clark


The second stage of an H-2B rocket is prepared for launch with Japan’s ninth HTV space station supply ship. Credit: MHI

A Japanese HTV cargo freighter is ready for launch Wednesday with the last set of six lithium-ion batteries to upgrade the International Space Station’s solar power truss.

Japan’s ninth automated H-2 Transfer Vehicle, or HTV, is scheduled for liftoff from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan at 1731 GMT (1:31 p.m. EDT) Wednesday aboard an H-2B rocket. Launch is scheduled for 2:31 a.m. Japan Standard Time on Thursday.

Standing 186 feet (56.6 meters) tall, the fully-assembled H-2B launcher is set to roll out to Launch Pad No. 2 at Tanegashima for the final countdown Wednesday, which include the loading of super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into both stages of the rocket.

The launch will mark the retirement of the H-2B rocket, built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The H-2B is Japan’s most powerful rocket, and it has launched eight times since 2009 — all with HTV resupply missions for the International Space Station.

The H-2B rocket’s twin LE-7A first stage main engines will light in the final few seconds of the countdown, followed by ignition of four strap-on solid rocket boosters to propel the launcher off the pad with 2.5 million pounds of thrust.

After turning toward the southeast from Tanegashima over the Pacific Ocean, the orange, black and white rocket will drop its strap-on solid rocket boosters around two minutes into the flight. The H-2B’s nose fairing, which will shield the HTV supply ship in the early phases of the mission, will separate at around T+plus 3 minutes, 40 seconds.

The rocket’s first stage engines will shut down just shy of the six-minute mark on the mission, followed be stage separation seconds later. A  single LE-5B engine on the second stage will ignite and ramp up to more than 30,000 pounds of thrust for a burn set to last more than eight minutes.

The second stage engine will accelerate the HTV supply ship into a preliminary orbit ranging nearly 200 miles above Earth. Deployment of the the HTV cargo craft is planned approximately 15 minutes after liftoff.

The H-2B and the less powerful H-2A rocket will be replaced by a new Japanese launcher named the H3. MHI and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, are jointly developing the H3 rocket, which could be ready for an inaugural test flight before the end of 2020.

The ninth HTV supply ship is also the last in Japan’s series of barrel-shaped cargo freighters, but a next-generation spacecraft named the HTV-X is in development for a debut flight to the space station in 2022.

JAXA provides resupply services to the space station to help pay for Japan’s share of the the research lab’s operating costs.



The ninth HTV cargo ship. Credit: JAXA

The HTV spacecraft is nicknamed Kounotori, which is Japanese for “white stork,” and stretches around 33 feet (10 meters) long and 14 feet (4.4 meters) wide. The ninth HTV mission, or Kounotori 9, is packed with more than 13,600 pounds, or 6.2 metric tons, of cargo, supplies and experiments in its pressurized module and on its external payload bay, according to JAXA.

The unpressurized cargo consists of the six new lithium-ion batteries stowed on a pallet inside the HTV’s external payload compartment.

An on-time launch Wednesday would put the HTV on course to arrive at the International Space Station on Monday, May 25. The station’s Canadian-built robotic arm will capture the Japanese cargo freighter around 1215 GMT (8:15 a.m. EDT), two days before the launch of a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the first crewed orbital flight from U.S. soil since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.

Assuming it launches May 27, the Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock with the space station May 28.

The arrivals of the HTV and Crew Dragon in quick succession will make for a busy few days on the space station, which is operating with a limited crew of three, and just one NASA astronaut responsible for the U.S. segment of the orbiting outpost.

If bad weather or a technical problem keeps the HTV mission on the ground Wednesday, JAXA has a backup launch opportunity May 23, according to Gary Jordan, a NASA spokesperson.

Jordan said there’s nothing on the Crew Dragon mission — designated Demo-2, or DM-2 — that makes its launch schedule dependent on the HTV launching first.

“But any changes to HTV’s schedule would be assessed which may change target dates for other operations, including the DM-2 launch,” Jordan told Spaceflight Now.

Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will fly to the space station on the Demo-2 flight. Their stay at the station could last one-to-four months.

Hurley and Behnken will assist space station commander Chris Cassidy — the sole NASA crew member currently on the station — with experiments and spacewalks. Behnken and Cassidy are slated to perform several spacewalks as early as June to install the lithium-ion batteries to be delivered by the HTV mission.

Inside the station, Hurley will operate the research lab’s robotic arm to move Cassidy and Behnken around during the spacewalks. The batteries on the ninth HTV flight will be installed on the space station’s outboard S6 segment on the far starboard side of the craft’s 356-foot-long (108.5-meter) truss structure.

Once the battery spacewalks are complete, old nickel-hydrogen batteries replaced by the new lithium-ion units will be loaded into the HTV’s external cargo pallet and disposed during the cargo ship’s destructive re-entry at the end of its mission.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/05/19/japans-htv-ready-for-launch-with-last-set-of-new-space-station-batteries/
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HTV supply ship successfully berthed at space station
May 25, 2020 Stephen Clark [SFN]


Japan’s ninth HTV cargo craft is seen berthed to the International Space Station’s Harmony module after arriving Monday. Credit: NASA TV/Spaceflight Now

The last of Japan’s current series of HTV cargo freighters arrived at the International Space Station Monday with a fresh set of lithium-ion batteries, ready for installation on the research lab’s solar power truss after the scheduled docking of a two-man crew on a SpaceX Dragon spaceship later this week.

The automated supply ship was captured by the station’s Canadian-built robotic arm at 8:13 a.m. EDT (1213 GMT) Monday, while the vehicles soared some 260 miles (418 kilometers) over Tanzania.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, commander of the space station’s Expedition 63 crew, controlled the robot arm for Monday’s capture of Japan’s ninth H-2 Transfer Vehicle. Ground teams then took over commanding of the robotic arm to berth the HTV to the space station’s Harmony module, where it’s due to remain until July.

The mission marks the final flight of Japan’s current HTV spacecraft design, which first reached the space station in 2009. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is developing an upgraded cargo vehicle named the HTV-X, which is slated to fly to the space station for the first time in 2022.

Unlike the HTV, which is grappled by the robotic arm and berthed with the space station, Japan’s HTV-X is designed to directly dock with the orbiting outpost, using the same docking ports as SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner crew capsules.

“It was an honor for Expedition 63 to be part of the final HTV mission, a vehicle that has contributed so greatly to the International Space Station program. Congratulations to our friends and colleagues in Tsukuba,” Cassidy said Monday, referring to JAXA’s space station control center in Tsukuba, Japan.

During its autonomous rendezvous Monday, the HTV was expected to test a new wifi data link with the space station. The wifi link will allow video transmission between the future HTV-X vehicles and the space station during docking.


Cytuj
Spaceflight Now @SpaceflightNow 2:21 PM · May 25, 2020
Japan’s ninth and final HTV cargo ship has been captured by the International Space Station’s robotic arm, under the control of astronaut Chris Cassidy.

This the final in this series of HTV supply freighters. Japan soon plans to debut a new cargo vehicle.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/05/20/h-2b-htv-9-mission-status-center/

JAXA provides resupply services to the space station to help pay for Japan’s share of the the research lab’s operating costs. In addition to space station missions in low Earth orbit, Japanese officials say the HTV-X spacecraft could haul logistics to the future Gateway mini-space station near the moon.

The ninth HTV spacecraft lifted off Wednesday, May 20, from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan atop an H-2B rocket. The H-2B launcher is also being retired with the final HTV flight. The HTV-X missions will launch on Japan’s next-generation H3 rocket.

The HTV spacecraft is nicknamed Kounotori, which is Japanese for “white stork,” and stretches around 33 feet (10 meters) long and 14 feet (4.4 meters) wide. The ninth HTV mission, or Kounotori 9, is packed with more than 13,600 pounds, or 6.2 metric tons, of cargo, supplies and experiments in its pressurized module and on its external payload bay, according to JAXA.

The unpressurized cargo consists of the six new lithium-ion batteries stowed on a pallet inside the HTV’s external payload compartment.

The Japanese freighter also delivered hardware for government, university and commercial experiments.

One of the payloads packed inside the ninth HTV mission is a module to support a Japanese combustion experiment. The investigation will “scientifically determine the role of gravity in different modes of combustion, such as ignition of solid materials and spreading of flames on various solid materials in the ISS’s environment,” JAXA said on its website.

The HTV is also carrying a camera designed by a Spanish company named Satlantis, which aims to demonstrate the performance of the imaging unit on a platform outside the space station’s Kibo laboratory. Similar cameras could become a standard for future Earth-imaging CubeSats and microsatellites, according to Satlantis.

Japan’s space agency is also delivering new science racks for to the space station NASA and the European Space Agency, plus a water tank and fresh food for the research lab’s crew.

Assuming it launches May 27, the Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock with the space station May 28.

The arrivals of the HTV and Crew Dragon in quick succession will make for a busy few days on the space station, which is operating with a limited crew of three, and just one NASA astronaut responsible for the U.S. segment of the orbiting outpost.

Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will fly to the space station on the Demo-2 flight. Their stay at the station could last one-to-four months

Hurley and Behnken will assist Cassidy — the sole NASA crew member currently on the station — with experiments and spacewalks. Behnken and Cassidy are slated to perform several spacewalks as early as June to install the lithium-ion batteries to be delivered by the HTV mission.

Inside the station, Hurley will operate the research lab’s robotic arm to move Cassidy and Behnken around during the spacewalks. The batteries on the ninth HTV flight will be installed on the space station’s outboard S6 segment on the far starboard side of the craft’s 356-foot-long (108.5-meter) truss structure.

Once the battery spacewalks are complete, old nickel-hydrogen batteries replaced by the new lithium-ion units will be loaded into the HTV’s external cargo pallet and disposed during the cargo ship’s destructive re-entry at the end of its mission.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/05/25/htv-supply-ship-successfully-berthed-at-space-station/
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Last in current line of Japan’s HTV cargo ships departs space station
August 18, 2020 Stephen Clark [SFN]


Japan’s ninth HTV supply ship backs away from the International Space Station Tuesday. Credit: NASA TV/Spaceflight Now

The last of Japan’s first series of HTV supply ships departed the International Space Station on Tuesday with several tons of trash, old batteries, and unneeded equipment, heading for a destructive re-entry before the debut of an upgraded cargo freighter design.

The HTV cargo ship was released from the space station’s Canadian-built robotic arm at 1:36 p.m. EDT (1736 GMT) to wrap up an 85-day stay at the orbiting research outpost.

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Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/08/18/htv-9-iss-departure/

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