Feeds

Japan hurls first space freighter at ISS

No pressure, maybe

Boost IT visibility and business value

Japan's first unmanned space freighter was launched today, stocked with cargo and equipment for the International Space Station.

The H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) blasted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan at 1:01 pm EDT (17:03 GMT) atop an H-2B rocket, which was also making a maiden flight. The spacecraft's success will be vitally important to the ISS as another way to deliver crucial equipment to the orbiting station after NASA's space shuttle fleet is retired next year.

To date, the orbit outpost's care packages been hauled by the American Space Shuttle, Russian Soyuz and Progress, and more recently, the European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV).

But unlike automated craft built by Russia and Europe, the HTV is designed to carry both pressurized and unpressurized cargo. That comes in handy for the ISS's Kibo laboratory, which recently added a "front porch" to let astronauts expose experiments to space.

HTV-1

HTV's insides, credit: JAXA

The HTV also departs from other unmanned space freighters by the way it docks with the station. When the HTV approaches, it will be positioned about 10 meters away from the ISS, at a relative stop. The station's crew will then use the ISS's Canadian robo-arm to grab hold of the HTV and berth it to the Harmony module's Earth-facing port.

The HTV is expected to reach the station on September 17, loaded with about 3.5 tons of food, supplies, and experiments. The four meter across by 10 meters long space freighter can haul a maximum of six tons, but JAXA is taking it easy for the debut.

After about a month, the the $20 billion yen ($217m) space freighter is expected to detach from the outpost and return to Earth, burning up as it enters the atmosphere.

The vehicle is also designed to be modified in the future to carry humans - and quite understandably - have a way of returning to Earth without being reduced to charcoal. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
BAT-GOBBLING urban SPIDER QUEENS swell to ENORMOUS SIZE
But they'd lose a deathmatch against the coming Humvee-sized, armoured Arctic ones
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company
Ten points of stuff out of a five pound bag
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?