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Kounotori cargo spacecraft successfully launched

The Yomiuri Shimbun

An H2B rocket successfully lifts off with Kounotori 6 at the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture on Friday night.

Jiji Press TANEGASHIMA, Kagoshima (Jiji Press) — An H2B rocket successfully lifted off carrying Japan’s Kounotori 6 unmanned cargo spacecraft from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, at 10:26 p.m. Friday.

The Kounotori 6 separated from the rocket about 15 minutes after the launch. It will dock with the International Space Station sometime between Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.

The spacecraft, whose name means stork in Japanese, will deliver some 5.9 tons of supplies, the heaviest load transported by a Kounotori ship. It is the largest among cargo ships owned by Japan, the United States and Russia.

The day’s launch, which followed Russia’s failure in the launch of a Soyuz rocket carrying a Progress supply ship on Dec. 1, has raised the success rate of Japan’s H2 rocket launches to 97.3 percent. Of the 37 launches so far, all but one succeeded.

In addition to water and food, the Kounotori 6 will also deliver Japanese-made large lithium-ion batteries to replace batteries used at the ISS, experimental equipment for a new cooling system and equipment to measure cosmic radiation in real time.

Also mounted on the ¥14 billion freighter are seven microsatellites including those of the Kyushu Institute of Technology, Shizuoka University and a Brazilian elementary school.

After being loaded with waste, the Kounotori 6 will depart from the ISS between late January and early February 2017.

It will test a 700-meter-long experimental electrodynamic tether for about a week in a project to develop low-cost technologies to remove space debris from Earth’s orbit. After that, the Kounotori 6 will reenter the atmosphere and burn up.

Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui, 46, said that as he watched the launch on the island of Tanegashima, he strongly hoped that the spacecraft will reach the ISS without a problem.Speech



[Released on Dec. 10 2016]

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