Japan has successfully launched the Kounotori 8 (HTV 8) International Space Station (ISS) resupply mission that was abandoned earlier this month after a fire broke out on the launch pad. The spacecraft is set to rendezvous and dock with the space station’s Harmony module on September 28.
The HTV 8 spacecraft was launched aboard an H-IIB rocket from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex, at JAXA’s Tanegashima Space Center at 16:05 UTC yesterday. Following the launch, a JAXA press release confirmed that 15 minutes and 2 seconds after liftoff, the HTV 8 spacecraft successfully separated from the rocket’s upper stage.
Aboard the HTV-8 spacecraft is over 4,800 kilograms of cargo destined for the ISS. In addition to supplies for the crew and science experiments being performed aboard the station, the spacecraft is carrying six new lithium-ion batteries. The new batteries will replace two aging nickel-hydrogen batteries that feed two power channels on the station’s far port truss segment.
Capture and installation of the HTV-8 spacecraft is expected to begin at 09:45 UTC on Saturday, September 28. Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Christina Koch of NASA will be behind the controls of the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm in the station’s Cupola Observational Module to capture the spacecraft. Koch will be backed by fellow NASA crewmate Andrew Mogan.
The HTV-8 spacecraft will be installed onto the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module. It will remain attached to the orbiting laboratory for a month. The spacecraft will then be packed with waste from the station, undock and perform a destructive reentry.