Headlines > News > Station-Bound Cargo Craft Launches from Japan

Station-Bound Cargo Craft Launches from Japan

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:50 am via: NASA
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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) H-II Transfer Vehicle, or HTV3, launched aboard an H-IIB launch vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan at 10:06 p.m. EDT Friday (11:06 a.m. Saturday, Japan time) to begin a weeklong journey to the International Space Station.

The 16.5-ton HTV3, also known as Kounotori3, or “white stork,” is carrying almost 4 tons of supplies, food and experiment hardware for the orbital outpost. At the time of launch, the station was 255 statute miles over the south Pacific off the coast of Chile.

When Kounotori3 catches up with the station on July 27, the spacecraft will be commanded to fly within about 40 feet while Expedition 32 Flight Engineers Joe Acaba of NASA and Aki Hoshide of JAXA use Canadarm2, the station’s Canadian Space Agency-provided robotic arm, to grapple the vehicle and berth it to a docking port on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony node. Grapple and berthing are scheduled to begin around 8 a.m.

HTV3 is a 33-foot-long, 13-foot-diameter (10 meter by 4 meter) unmanned cargo transfer spacecraft capable of delivering both internal and external supplies and hardware to the station. Among the items being delivered to the station is a remote-controlled Earth-observing camera system called the International Space Station SERVIR Environmental Research and Visualization System, or ISERV. Once installed, the system will be directed by researchers on the ground to acquire imagery of specific areas of the world for disaster analysis and environmental studies.

Kounotori3 also is delivering the Japanese Exploration Module-Small Satellite Orbital Deployer, which will jettison five nanosatellites into orbit, including a cubesat dubbed TechEdSat supported by engineers and student interns at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.

HTV3 will remain at the station until September when, like its predecessors, it will be detached from the Harmony node by Canadarm2 and released for a fiery re-entry over the Pacific Ocean.

The ISS Progress 47 resupply craft will undock from the Pirs docking compartment Sunday at 4:27 p.m. EDT. It will redock to Pirs Monday at 9:57 p.m. to test an upgraded Kurs automated rendezvous system. Its final undocking will occur July 30 for a fiery disposal over the Pacific Ocean.

The Russian Federal Space Agency is planning its first single-day rendezvous and docking of a Progress cargo craft to the space station. If conditions are right the ISS Progress 48 would lift off August 1 at 3:35 p.m. then dock less than six hours later to Pirs. The average launch to docking profile for a Russian spacecraft to the station is 50 hours.

Earlier on Friday, Flight Engineers Joe Acaba and Suni Williams spent some time working on station plumbing. The pair also worked on different but ongoing medical experiments. The scientific studies focus on how a crew member’s body adapts to long duration missions in space.

Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide spent time on crew orientation activities and also participated in medical experiments. He also reviewed procedures for using the station science freezer and stowed experiment hardware.

Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Sergei Revin paired up for the Typology experiment. The study observes a crew member’s mental state while performing tasks in space. Padalka later worked on inventorying gear stowed aboard the Progress 47.

Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko familiarized himself with station systems on his fourth day aboard the orbital laboratory. He later reviewed procedures for working with Europe’s docked Automated Transfer Vehicle-3 and the advanced resistive exercise device.

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