Japanese Cargo Vessel HTV-5 On the Way to ISS

Liftoff of HTV-5 Image Credit JAXA

Liftoff of HTV-5
Image Credit JAXA

After waiting out several days of rainy weather, a Japanese H-IIB rocket took advantage of a weather window which may end in a Super Typhoon and lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center at 7:50 PM JST/ 7:50 AM EDT, carrying the HTV-5 cargo vessel to the International Space Station. Accompanied by its characteristic banshee-like wail, the all-cryogenic booster assisted by four strap-on solid rocket motors climbed into the night on a flawless flight that saw its payload released into orbit 15 minutes later.

Stowed aboard the Kounotori (White Stork) 5, are nearly 9,500 lbs. of food, water, hardware and experiments contained in the pressurized section, as well as the CALorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET) investigation, an externally mounted astrophysics payload intended to search for dark matter secured in the un-pressurized section of the vehicle.

Significantly, this morning’s launch is set to provide ISS the necessary provisions to stay stocked well into 2016 as NASA works with its own commercial partners Orbital ATK and SpaceX to overcome recent launch failures and return to flight. Following the SpaceX CRS-7 loss in late June, NASA airlifted replacement components of the Water Recovery System (WRS) to Japan in July. The arrival of new pumps and filters are vital for continued operation of the multi-filtration beds that produce drinkable water distilled from urine and collected from air conditioner condensation.

The HTV-5 will make a five day transit to ISS, with berthing to the Earth facing port of the Harmony module scheduled for the morning of Monday, August 24th. Capture, which will be performed by JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui, is expected to take place at 6:55 AM CDT, marking the beginning of a five week stay.


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