The Japanese Kounotori H-II vehicle for the eighth voyage to the International Space Station aboard the H-IIB booster rocket was damaged by a launch pad fire. The departure from the Tanegashima Space Center was scheduled for 06:33:29 Japanese Standard Time (21:33 UTC on Tuesday), with the spacecraft to be released into low Earth orbit a little over fifteen minutes later. A new launch date is to be set.
The H-II Transport Vehicle (HTV), also known as Kounotori, is Japan's contribution to a fleet of unmanned spacecraft flying cargo and recovery missions to the International Space Station (
. Together with Russian Progress, the American Dragon and Kignus and formerly the European Automatic Transmission Vehicle (ATV), it can supply astronauts with supplies, equipment and experiments aboard an outpost.
Kounotori 8 (HTV) -8) The mission to launch is the penultimate HTV flight to be replaced by a floor HTV-X collapse in early 2020
Japan's contribution to the ISS program is managed by the Japan Aerospace Research Agency, JAXA, Launching, the eighth JAXA station, comes on the tenth anniversary of HTV's first launch. Launched on September 1
The Kounotori 1 mission also marks the initial flight of the H-IIB rocket and the first use of the second launch pad from the Yoshinobu launch complex at Tanegashima Space Center, both of which will be used for the launch.
Manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric, HTV measures about ten meters in length and 33 meters in diameter. It has a mass of up to 16,500 kilograms (36,400 pounds), including up to 4100 kg (9,000 pounds) of pressurized load and 1,900 kg (4,200 pounds) of unpressurized load.
HTV is designed for a five-day free flight on either side of a 45-day stay in the International Space Station, with the possibility of orbiting for seven days in the event of a problem with initial standby attempts.
HTV primary propulsion is provided by four IHI Corporation HBT-5 propellers powered by monomethylhydrazine and mixed nitrogen oxides (MON-3, a mixture of three percent nitrogen monoxide and 97% dinitrogen tetroxide), while twenty-eight 120-New (27 lb) reaction control reactions are used for position control and maneuvering. The surface-mounted solar cells on the outer part of the spacecraft generate energy for its systems.
Kounotori is designed to carry pressurized and unpressured cargo to a space station in two compartments. The Logistic Pressure Carrier (PLC) is located in the spacecraft's nose and includes a General Standby mechanism that will secure it to the station. Once attached, astronauts will enter the PLC and gain access to their cargo.
Further, the Non-Pressure Carrier Logistics Carrier (ULC) contains an exposed pallet with additional load that can be accessed outside the station. For the Kounotori 8 mission, a Type III pallet will be used that is designed to be used in conjunction with the mobile base system in the US orbital segment. The other type pallet, type I, was designed instead of being mounted on the exposed equipment of the Japanese Kibo module.
CanadArm2, the space station's robotic frame and its Dextre attachment are used to retrieve the pallets from Kounotori, and to reinstall it prior to departure.
The exposed pallet is loaded with six orbital replacement unit (ORU) batteries for the station's Integrated Farm Structure (ITS) batteries. They consist of lithium-ion batteries that will replace the original nickel-hydrogen units that started with the farm segments.
Once installed – this will require a series of space paths – three quarters of the batteries will be replaced with a final batch of six substitutes to launch aboard the next mission Kounotori next year. Old batteries will be loaded into Kounotori 8 for disposal, burning with the spacecraft as it returns the atmosphere at the end of the mission.
The pressurized logistics carrier includes a new rack system designed for the next generation HTV-X spacecraft, which increases the number of luggage for carrying cargoes that can be carried from 248 to 316. Each bag is 50.2 in size. at 42.5 by 24.8 centimeters (19.8 by 16.7 by 9.76 inches), providing a volume of about 50 liters (3050 cubic inches). The cargo includes provisions and fresh food for the space station crew, as well as experiments to be carried out at the Japanese Experiment Module of the Station (JEM), Kibo.
The mechanism for cell biology experiments on the left (CBErof-L) contains biological and other experiments that require artificial gravity. CBEF-L will join the existing tool for cell biology experiments (CBEF), providing new opportunities to simulate a larger range of gravity conditions and to facilitate experiments on larger animals than mice.
The Clock Experiment, also known as the planet's Gravity Dependency Study, is a materials research project that will use a CBEF centrifuge to study how powdered and granular materials behave in microgravity and low gravity. The samples will be tested in cylindrical watch-shaped containers, with the aim of giving the experiment a better idea of how surface dust or sand can hold on to planets and moons.
The Small Optical Connection for the International Space Station (SOLISS) will test optical communications with a prefabricated laser and receiver and an engineering camera to be installed outside the space station of the IVA Interchangeable Small Exposure Experimental Platform (i-SEEP). A partnership between JAXA and Sony, SOLISS can send and receive laser communications to and from the earth via a 1550-nanometer beam. While the primary purpose of an engineering chamber is to monitor the work of a cardan, its images can also be transmitted to the ground as part of the experiment.
Three small satellites are also carried aboard the Kounotori 8 for deployment from the International Space Station via the JEM SSOD small satellite orbital dislocator. Built to the CubeSat standard, these spacecraft will be deployed by the Kibo module air unit later this year.
The Aqua Thruster Demonstrator (AQT-D) in Tokyo is a three-component CubeSat that will test the Aqua Resistojet (Aquarius-1U) propulsion system in orbit. This will expel water vapor from the satellite to generate momentum, correcting the satellite's orbit. A water propulsion system has been proposed as a way of extending the life of small satellites stationed by the space station without endangering the crew or the stand by carrying traditional combustion engines. AQT-D will try to confirm this in space. The satellite also carries a UHF communication payload.
NARSScube-1 is a single-engine CubeSat created by the Egyptian National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS). Equipped with a miniature camera with a resolution of 200 meters (650 feet), the satellite will record images on Earth and transmit them back to its operators, while providing them with experience and demonstrating technology for future missions. This follows from the identical NARSScube-2, which was deployed by the US Cygnus spacecraft in August.
The ultimate CubeSat aboard the HTV-8 is Rwanda Satellite 1 or RWASAT-1. Rwanda's first satellite, the RWASAT-1, carries a communication payload that will collect and transmit data from remote ground monitoring stations. The satellite also carries two Earth observation cameras and will serve as a technology demonstrator.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIB rocket is used to launch the Kounotori spacecraft. The H-IIB is a modified version of Japan's H-IIA rocket, which includes a wider first stage with two LE-7A engines instead of the single engine used on the H-IIA. Used only in connection with HTV, this launch marks the eighth and penultimate flight of the H-IIB.
JAXA has learned lessons learned with both H-IIA and H-IIB to develop a next-generation H-III rocket that will reduce the cost of launching Japanese satellites. The H-III is expected to make its first flight in late 2020 or 2021 and will take on HTV launches when the advanced HTV-X is introduced.
The launch will use the second pad of the Yoshinobu launch complex at JAXA's Tanegashima Space Center. The Yoshinobu complex was designed for the original H-II rocket in the 1990s, initially consisting of a single pad. This was later converted to H-IIA missions, and in the early 2000s a backup pad was created for the H-IIA, close to the original.
The H-IIA never flew from the replacement swab, which was later converted to H-IIB. All H-IIB missions took off from this second pad while the H-IIA continued to fly from its original pad.
Prior to launch, the H-IIB was integrated into a mobile launch platform at Bay 2 of the Assembly Building 350 meters (1150 feet) northwest of the tampon.
Duration of @MHI_Group #HIIB ascends to LP-2 this afternoon before # HTV8 mission re-delivery to @Space_Station . The second go / no-go poll is GO! The refueling operations are following and should start within 60 minutes.
– 📸Trevor Mahlmann (@TrevorMahlmann) ] September 10, 2019
The platform, with the rocket above, was then relocated to the exit. In the hours preceding the launch of the rocket, it will be powered up: the first and second stage of the rocket will burn cryogenic fuel: liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, which will be vented and refilled throughout the count as they can evaporate.  A fire was seen around the network at that time. It was particularly close to the rocket, but has since been classified as located on the launch pad and far from solid rocket motors.
During the pre-launch operations, a fire broke out on the support of the #HIIB rocket that was to launch the spacecraft # HTV8 to the International Space Station in a few hours. Water suppression systems seem to have put the situation under control. #JAXA pic.twitter.com/2KokR2k2u4
– Michael Baylor (@nextspaceflight) September 10, 2019
About three seconds before the LE-7A twin stage launches the engines will start. At zero marking on the countdown – called the X-0 for Japanese launches – four solid rocket motors attached to the first stage will also ignite and the rocket will begin its ascent. Solids are SRB-A3 engines that provide extra traction in the early stages of flight. They will burn in 108 seconds before they run out of fuel. Boosters will be split in pairs, fifteen to eighteen seconds after the burn.
Three minutes and thirty-eight seconds into flight, with a rocket at an altitude of about 119 kilometers (74 miles, 64 nautical miles), the payload volume will separate from the nose of the H-IIB. This structure, designed to protect the Kounotori 8 during its ascent through the atmosphere and to ensure that the rocket has a constant aerodynamic profile, is no longer needed once the rocket reaches space and can be ejected to save weight.
The first stage of the H-IIB will continue to burn to the Engine Main Cutoff (MECO) after a five-minute 44-second mission. After consuming their fuel deliveries, the two engines of the first stage will shut down, with the exhausted stage emitted eight seconds later. Eleven seconds after the stage is separated, the second stage of the H-IIB will start its LE-5B engine in eight minutes of eleven seconds.