Japans’s Kounotori 8 International Space Station resupply mission has been scrubbed after a fire was discovered coming from the deck of the mobile launcher. The Kounotori 8 mission was expected to be launched aboard a H-IIB rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center on September 10 at 21:33 UTC.
In press release published earlier this morning, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Launch Services confirmed a fire had been found coming from the launch pad at 18:05 UTC on Tuesday, September 10. Later, the company tweeted that ground crews had spotted the fire emanating from “around the hole at the deck of the mobile launcher.”
Following its discovery, ground crews employed hoses in an attempt to control the fire. Without being able to approach the launchpad due to the potential of the vehicle exploding, efforts to extinguish it were hampered. It would take more than two hours before ground crews were happy that the fire was out and the danger had passed.
At a press conference following confirmation that the fire had been extinguished, MHI Launch Services officials confirmed an investigation into the fire had been initiated and no cause had yet been discovered. However, officials also noted that there had been no sign of a fuel leak and the hole where the fire had been discovered had was not being used for venting.
The launch was intended to carry supplies to the International Space Station. The supplies aboard the vehicle will be inspected and repacked with the launch likely to slip as much as a month.