HTV supply ship to dock at the space station – spaceflight Now


Japan ninth load HTV craft is seen docked to the International Space Station’s Harmony module, after it arrives on Monday. Credit: NASA TV/Spaceflight Now

The last of Japan’s current series of HTV cargo carrier arrived at the International Space Station on Monday with a new set of lithium-ion batteries, ready for installation in the research laboratory of the solar energy cluster after the scheduled time of coupling of a two-man crew in a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft at the end of this week.

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

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

The mission marks the last flight of the Japan current HTV design of a spacecraft, which arrived at the space station in 2009. The japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is the development of an improved system of load of the vehicle called the HTV-X, which is scheduled to fly to the space station for the first time in the year 2022.

Unlike the HTV, which is grabbed by the robotic arm and landed with the spacecraft, the japanese HTV-X is designed to directly dock with the orbiting outpost, using the same docking ports as the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the fact that Boeing Starliner crew capsules.

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

During autonomous the appointment Monday, the HTV is expected to test a new wifi data link with the space station. The wifi link will allow transmission of video between the future HTV-X vehicle and from the space station during the docking.

JAXA provides resupply services to the space station to help pay for the part of Japan of which the laboratory research of the operating costs. In addition to the space station missions in low earth orbit, the Japanese officials say the HTV-X spacecraft could drag on logistics for the future of the Gateway mini-space station near the moon.

The ninth HTV spacecraft blasted off Wednesday, May 20, from the Space Centre in Tanegashima, in southern Japan at the top of a H-2B rocket. The H-2B launcher was also removed with the end of HTV flight. The HTV-X missions will be launched in Japan the next generation of H3 rocket.

The HTV spacecraft is nicknamed Kounotori, which is Japanese for “white stork,” and extends to about 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 their pressurized module, and in its cargo compartment, according to the JAXA.

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

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

One of the burdens of full in the ninth HTV-mission is a module to support Japanese as a combustion experiment. The research “scientifically determine the role of gravity in the different modes of combustion, such as ignition of solid materials and the flame spread in various solid materials in the ISS environment”, JAXA, said on its web site.

The HTV also carries a camera designed by a Spanish company called 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 the future of Earth-imaging CubeSats and microsatellites, according to Satlantis.

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

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

The arrival of HTV and the Crew of the Dragon in quick succession will make for a long few days on the space station, which is operating with a limited team of three, and only a NASA astronaut responsible for the U.S. segment of the orbiting outpost.

Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will fly to the space station in the Demo-2 flight. Your stay in the station could last from one to four months

Hurley and Behnken will help Cassidy — the only member of the crew of NASA’s currently in the station — with the experiments and spacewalks. Behnken and Cassidy is scheduled 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 is going to work in the research lab’s robotic arm to move Cassidy and Behnken around during spacewalks. The batteries in the ninth HTV flight will be installed in the space station outboard S6 segment at the end of the starboard side of the ship 356 feet long (108.5 meters), the truss structure.

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

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.



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