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Japanese Resupply Vehicle Launches to Station
01.22.11
 
The Kounotori2 H-II Transfer Vehicle launches aboard an H-IIB rocket

Image above: The Kounotori2 H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV2) launches aboard an H-IIB rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. Credit: NASA TV

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Kounotori2 H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV2) aboard an H-IIB rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan at 12:37 a.m. EST (2:27 p.m. Japan time) on Saturday.

HTV2 is the second unpiloted cargo ship launched by JAXA to the International Space Station and will deliver more than four tons of food and supplies to the station and its crew members.

The first launch attempt on Thursday was postponed due to inclement weather at the launch site. JAXA flight controllers modified HTV2’s orbit to reflect a five-day rendezvous to the station with grapple and berthing still scheduled for January 27.

Expedition 26 Flight Engineers Cady Coleman and Paolo Nespoli will command the station's robotic arm, Canadarm2, to reach out, grapple Kounotori2 and attach it to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module.

In the following days, a pallet loaded with spare station parts will be extracted from a slot in the cargo ship and attached to an experiment platform outside the Japanese Kibo module. Other cargo will be transferred internally to the station.

The cargo vehicle will be filled with trash, detached from the station and sent to burn up in the Earth's atmosphere at the end of March.

› Watch video of the HTV2 launch
› Read more about the HTV2