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Cargo spacecraft docking at the space station



An unmanned Japanese cargo ship has docked at the International Space Station.

Kounotori 8 was launched on September 25 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture.

After approaching the space station in orbit at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers, the cargo spacecraft was hit by a robotic arm operated by an astronaut. The docking took place on Sunday, Japan Time, just before 3 o'clock in the morning.

About 40 people were in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) control room in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture.

They transmitted Kounotori's data to the US space agency NASA and applauded when the cargo spacecraft was caught by the robotic arm.

Kounotori 8 is 1

0 meters long and has a diameter of 4.4 meters. The cargo of approximately 5.3 tons comprises water and food for the astronauts who are on the ISS, as well as batteries for the power supply and university-developed satellites.

The first Kounotori was started 10 years ago. This is the eighth unmanned shipment of cargo to the International Space Station in a row.

Hirohiko Uematsu, Director of the HTV Technology Center at JAXA, said that teething troubles 10 years ago led to difficulties in operating the cargo spacecraft, but experience has led to significant improvements.

He added that the center's staff are now developing a successor to the Kounotori line of spacecraft, and they believe they now have the knowledge base that makes them a success.


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