New Liftoff Date/Time for Japanese Space Freighter Announced

January 20, 2011 | By | 1 Comment
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Update (22 January 2011): NASA TV will also be webcasting the launch of the HTV.

Launch of  the second Japanese HTV automated space freighter has been rescheduled for this coming Saturday (22 January 2011). The launch will be webcast live from the Tanegashima Space Center. The launch is scheduled to occur at 3.37pm AEST (add one hour if your Australian East Coast State or Territory follows Summer Time). The previous launch was scheduled for earlier today but was cancelled due to unfavourable weather conditions.

Image courtesy NASA. Backdropped by a blue and white part of Earth, the unpiloted Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) approaches the International Space Station. Once the HTV was in range, NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk and European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne, all Expedition 20 flight engineers, used the station's robotic arm to grab the cargo craft and attach it to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony node. The attachment was completed at 5:26 (CDT) on Sept. 17, 2009.

The HTV has been developed as a robotic space freighter. This allows the Japanese Space Agency JAXA to send up a range of supplies to the International Space Station without the cost of a manned spacecraft. A mission press release kit for this current mission can be downloaded here (8.9 M Acrobat PDF format). The first HTV re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere (deliberately) at the end of its mission on 2 November 2009.

As an aside, the European Space Agency’s own robotic space freighter – the ATV – will be launched on 16 February 2011 (AEST Time) – to take supplies to the International Space Station. More information here.

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