Unmanned spacecraft heads for ISS
The launch was executed jointly by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, reported Nikkie.com.
The space craft has been named Kountori 2, which means white stork.
The launch was originally scheduled for Thursday, but was delayed due to bad weather. The spacecraft was launched atop H2B rocket, according to JAXA, the Japanese Space agency.
If everything goes according to schedule, the Space craft will arrive with more than 5 tons of supplies at the ISS, on Jan. 27.
Second flight of Kountori
This is the second flight of Kountori space craft, after the first flight in September 2009, as per the JAXA’s officials.
Kountori crafts are officially known as H-2 Transfer vehicles (HTV’s). Japan along with Russia and European cargo ships will assume the major responsibility of transporting supplies to the ISS, after NASA announced that it is going to retire its space craft fleet.
JAXA’s HTV project manager, Yoshiko Torano said, “After the space shuttle is retired, the HTV will be the only vehicle that is capable of transporting large scale maintenance equipment vital for sustaining the ISS.”
Space craft and its mission
The bright golden colored Kounotori is 33 feet long and 14 feet wide. It can carry 6 tons of cargo to the ISS, but in this trip the spacecraft will be carrying nearly 5.3 tons of supplies. These include food, water and maintenance equipment for the ISS.
The space craft will remain aligned with the ISS for 40 days, after which it will come back with the trash generated at the ISS.
It is a one way trip for Kountori, as it will be destroyed as soon as it enters the atmosphere of the earth.
Expressing JAXA’s future plans, Torano said, “I hope Japan will embark on new manned space activities using technologies from Kountori.”