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Japanese Cargo Craft Leaves Station

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:56 am via: source
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(NASA) – Japan’s first cargo vehicle, the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), has left the International Space Station. Flight Engineer and robotic arm operator Nicole Stott released the HTV from the grip of Canadarm2 at 1:32 p.m. EDT on Friday. The HTV’s thrusters fired about five minutes later separating the craft from the station for a series of three deorbit maneuvers on Sunday.

Release occurred as the HTV and the ISS flew 220 miles above the Pacific Ocean southwest of Hawaii. The HTV will be disposing of about 1,600 pounds of trash and unneeded equipment when it is commanded to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and burn up at 4:25 p.m. EST Sunday.

International Space Station cameras monitor the H-II Transfer Vehicle before the Canadarm2 releases it. Credit: NASA TV

International Space Station cameras monitor the H-II Transfer Vehicle before the Canadarm2 releases it. Credit: NASA TV

The HTV arrived at the orbiting laboratory on Sept. 17 when it was grappled by Stott using Canadarm2 and berthed to the Harmony node’s Earth-facing port.

Flight controllers had been tracking space debris from a Russian satellite Thursday and determined an avoidance maneuver for the station was not necessary. However, they elected to delay the release of HTV by one orbit to ensure it would remain a safe distance from the debris, since a collision could add to the growing population of debris in orbit around the planet.

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