A Japanese cargo spacecraft loaded with more than four tons of supplies, spare parts and experiment hardware is scheduled to launch from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan to the International Space Station at 5:33 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 10 (6:33 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 (JAXA) unpiloted H-II Transport Vehicle-8 (HTV-8) will launch on a Japanese H-IIB rocket on the tenth anniversary of the first HTV cargo spacecraft launch. Live coverage will begin at 5 p.m.
The spacecraft will arrive at the station Saturday, Sept. 14. Live coverage of the spacecraft rendezvous and capture will begin at 5:30 a.m. Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Christina Koch of NASA, backed up by her NASA crewmate Andrew Morgan, will operate the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm from the station’s cupola to capture the 12-ton spacecraft as it approaches from below. Robotics flight controllers will then take over the operation of the arm to install HTV-8 to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module where it will spend a month attached. Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) will monitor HTV-8 systems during its approach to the station.
Capture of the HTV-8 is scheduled around 7 a.m. Coverage will resume at 8:30 a.m. for the final installation of the resupply craft to Harmony by robotic ground controllers. If the installation operations are running ahead of schedule, coverage would begin earlier.
Named Kounotori, meaning white stork in Japanese, the craft will deliver six new lithium-ion batteries and corresponding adapter plates that will replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for two power channels on the station’s far port truss segment. The batteries will be installed through a series of robotics and spacewalks by the station’s crew members later this year.
Additional experiments on board HTV-8 include an upgrade to the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF-L), a small-sized satellite optical communication system (SOLISS), and a payload for testing the effects of gravity on powder and granular material (Hourglass).
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