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Fresh batteries, experiments on the way to the International Space Station – Spaceflight Now



Japanese rocket H-2B rises with eighth HTV for congestion. Credit: MHI / JAXA

A Japanese H-2B rocket launches into orbit on Tuesday from the Tanegashima Space Center with an automated cargo truck loaded with more than 4.1 tons of batteries, experiments, space-walking equipment, water and provisions for International space station .

The unmanned cargo ship departed at 1605: 05 GMT (12:05:05 PM EDT) on Tuesday from launch # 2 in Tanegashima, an oceanfront space on an island in southern Japan.

The 186-high (56.6 meters) H-2B rocket went through an apparently trouble-free countdown on Tuesday. After filling the rocket with ultra-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen fuels, the H-2B launch team, operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, gave its approval to the last start of the start that ended with the ignition of two main LE-7A engines in the T-minus 5.2 seconds.

After passing a computer health check, the H-2B rocket launches four solid rocket boosters to get more than 2 million pounds of thrust from the Tanegashima Space Center.

Liftoff happened at 1:05 local time in Japan, two weeks after the previous H-2B countdown was stopped by a dramatic fire on the launch site.

Japanese engineers rejected the first attempt to launch a mission on September 10 after a fire, and ground crews returned the H-2B missile to its prefabricated building for inspection. Officials determined the fire was caused by static electricity and high oxygen concentrations dripping from the rocket's main engines during the September 10 countdown.

After identifying non-specific "corrective actions", MHI returned the H-2B rocket to launch, tampon half a day before takeoff on Tuesday to begin a new countdown.

On Tuesday, no such problems occurred and the H-2B rocket quickly turned southeast to climb into space over the Pacific Ocean. The exact launch time on Tuesday was determined to allow Japan's eighth H-2 vehicle to orbit aligned with the orbital plane of the International Space Station, laying the groundwork for Saturday's automated laser guidance.

The eighth supply of HTV in Japan is seen during preparations for launching at the Tanegashima Space Center. Credit: JAXA

The H-2B rocket dropped its four solid rocket boosters, payload load and first stage during the first six minutes of the mission. The second stage, powered by a single hydrogen LE-5B engine, delivers the HTV delivery vessel in pre-orbit about 15 minutes after take-off.

Japanese mission controllers confirmed that a barrel-shaped HTV had been launched into a target orbit, and a cargo truck began to recharge its batteries with solar panels mounted on its body.

Tuesday's launch made the H-2B eight-for-eight missile launches after it debuted on HTV's first HTV renewal mission in 2009.

The HTV 8 mission is also known as Kounotori 8. Kounotori means " white stork "in Japanese.

Packed with about 8,326 pounds (3,777 kilograms) of equipment, experiments and supplies, the Kounotori 8 crew will approach the space station in autopilot mode on Saturday, the space station crew will use a Canadian-built robotics lab frame, to take the HTV delivery ship around 7:15 am EDT (1115 GMT) on Saturday, after which it will bring the spacecraft to the port for the Harmony Module dock at the station.

Crews inside the station will work by unpacking 5,313 pounds (2410 kilograms) of cargo at a pressurized HTV logistics carrier. In the meantime, robots outside the station will pull a pallet from HTV's unladen cargo bay containing six lithium-ion batteries to modernize the space station's energy system.

Astronauts Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan at the space station will conduct five space paths – the first scheduled for October 6 – to begin the installation of fresh batteries that will replace aging and less capable nickel-hydrogen batteries in the P6 solar array module the far side of the spine of the tube of the station.

The Kounotori 8 mission will deliver the third set of six lithium-ion batteries to upgrade the space station's four huge external power modules, each with wings of solar array that cover 240 feet (73 meters) from top to top . HTV's Sixth Mission in 2016 carried the first set of new batteries to the station, followed by a second batch last year during the Kounotori 7. Supply Mission.

The last set of six batteries will launch on the ninth HTV flight next year.

Each section of the solar array supplies two electric ducts with 12 rechargeable nickel-hydrogen batteries, and NASA replaces the old batteries in the power farm with six lighter and more efficient lithium-ion batteries.

Six new lithium-ion batteries are loaded on a cargo pallet moving on the Japanese spacecraft Kounotori 8. Credit: JAXA

JAXA uses HTV missions as part of its contribution to the space station program. Each HTV truck is about 33 feet (10 meters) in diameter and about 14 feet (4.4 meters) in diameter.

The mission of Kounotori 8 also carries food, fresh drinking water, a high-pressure gas tank to recharge the space The interior atmosphere of the station with oxygen and nitrogen, as well as space tools such as high-resolution cameras and series equipment from repair space lanes planned later this year for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 space beam experiment.

HTV will also provide the investigated payload to the space station.

One experiment will demonstrate a high-speed satellite laser communication system developed by JAXA and Sony Computer Science Laboratories. The technology demonstrator will test a laser connection to a ground station that can accommodate communications with a higher bandwidth than radio systems.

"This technology, which uses a laser to communicate with the mass media in orbit, is likely to be widely used. not only in the telecommunications industry, but in the future as a means of communication in the field of research, "said JAXA Vice President Koichi Wakata in a statement. "In particular, it can be used as a means of communication between Earth and the International Space Station, the Moon and Mars. There are a wide range of potential applications, such as communication with lunar rovers. ”

The small optical connection for an international space station or SOLISS, the experiment will be mounted on an experimental platform outside the Japanese laboratory module of the Japanese space station.

"Sony CSL takes advantage of in-orbit demonstrations to complete our long-range laser communication system," says Hiroaki Kitano, president of Sony CSL. "This will be the first step for Sony to build on the results of these demonstrations and put it into practice in society as we commercialize it.

"The ability to use Kibo for in-orbit demonstrations allows us to significantly advance the research and development of the optical communications system, much faster than if we had launched a small satellite for the same purpose," Kitano said. "The SOLISS system is built using custom components. Following the demonstrations, we will extract the SOLISS unit and perform further analyzes, which we expect will further accelerate the commercialization process. "

The Japanese clockwork experiment also launched HTV's eighth mission to help scientists investigate soil and rock behavior at low gravity, simulating conditions that future probes may encounter on a small planet or asteroid.

New cell biology experiment shelving hardware also flies to the space station of the Kounotori spacecraft 8, expanding the capabilities of the biological station

Three CubeSats also take the station to the Kounotori spacecraft 8. After arriving at Station Kounotori 8. the astronauts will transfer them to the Japanese Kibo module, where they will be installed in an airborne gateway sprinkler.

The 2-pound (1-pound) nanosatellite NARSSCube 1. was developed by the Egyptian National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Science in partnership with Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. It carries a low resolution image camera.

The CubeSat AQT-D, which weighs 8.1 pounds (3.7 kilograms) and is about the size of a shoebox, will demonstrate a water-based satellite propulsion system. The AQT-D mission is led by the University of Tokyo.

Rwanda's first satellite, called RWASAT 1, also launched on Tuesday. Authorities say the satellite will help monitor agriculture and the environment.

The Japanese HTV cargo delivery flight is the first of two missions launching to the International Space Station in less than 24 hours.

The Russian Soyuz ferry is scheduled to depart Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with a Russian astronaut, NASA astronaut and the first Emirates spacecraft. The Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft will reach the station less than six hours after takeoff, while the HTV cargo mission accepts a longer meeting profile.

Email the author. [19659003] Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .


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