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off! Japan launches unmanned cargo ship in the direction of the space station

A Japanese cargo ship successfully launched to the International Space Station on Tuesday (24th September) and started two weeks late at the first start attempt.

The unmanned transport vehicle H-II -8 (HTV-8) flew into space at 12:05 pm EDT Tuesday (1605 GMT or 1:05 on 25 September in Japan). The freighter brought more than 4 tons of supplies, batteries and a prototype laser communication system from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. The launch was originally scheduled for September 10, but officials scrubbed it after a fire broke out on the launch pad a few hours before launch . Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), the prime contractor for the Japanese H-IIB rocket (1

9459004), later determined the fire that was likely caused by oxygen-driven static electricity (19459004). ,

Video: How Japan's HTV cargo ships work
Related topics: Japan's HTV spacecraft explains (infographic)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's H-IIB missile launches the HTV-8 cargo ship to the International Space Station on September 24, 2019 EDT (September 25 Japanese time) from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.

(Credit: NASA TV) The launch countdown, MHI explained in a statement, because the oxygen vapors on the launch pad were more concentrated than usual because they were not blown away. "We have taken corrective action and confirmed the normal functioning of the rocket and the plant," added MHI, without specifying what measures are well taken in view of the delay. In fact, three more people are expected to be on their way to the space station tomorrow (25th September). This Expedition 61 crew includes the experienced Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, the young NASA astronaut Jessica Meir and Hazza Al Mansouri from the United Arab Emirates. Al Mansouri is the first Emirati astronaut ever to fly in space.

HTV is expected to arrive at its destination on Saturday (September 28) – long after docking of the crew of Expedition 61. The freighter attaches to the Harmony module of the ISS. Astronauts will use the Canadarm2 robot arm to capture the Japanese supply ship. Astronauts will unpack the supplies while robots will collect the batteries for future spacewalks.

NASA Plans Up to Five Space Walks in October to Use the New Lithium-ion Batteries Instead of Aging Nickel-Hydrogen Batteries Driving Space The station's P6 truss segment, Spaceflight Now said. The 21-year-old space station is in the midst of battery replacement to power the Space Station's spacecraft and experiments for commercial occupation and beyond.

Photos: Japan's Robotic Space Cargo Ship Fleet

In the meantime, the Sony laser communications terminal is being used to test future communications between satellites or ground stations using ultra-fast laser communication, according to the company Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency or JAXA. (Space vehicles today generally rely on radio, which has a limited bandwidth for sending information.)

Since 2016 Sony and the Space Agency have tested in a statement long-range laser communication on the ground. During the demonstration on the space station, the Sony system is connected to a small exposed space experiment platform connected to the Japanese Kibo module.

"We have very high expectations of this technology," said today's ISS astronaut Koichi Wakata, a vice president at JAXA, said in the same statement. "This technology … is likely to be widely used as a means of communication in the field of exploration, not only in the telecommunications industry, but also in the future, in particular as a means of communication between the Earth and the International Space Station, Moon and Mars." [19659002] Apart from this fire, Japan has had an unabated success in launching its HTV vehicles, which usually fly into space every one or two years. The last HTV before this was blown up in September 2018.

NASA will webcast the arrival of HTV-8 on the space station on Saturday at 5:45 am EDT (0945 GMT). The acquisition of the robotic arm is scheduled for 7:15 am EDT (1115 GMT). NASA's webcast will resume on Saturday at 9:30 am (CET) to document the connection of HTV-8 to the Harmony module.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace . Follow us on Twitter @SpaceTotcom and Facebook .

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