Thursday, September 10, 2009

Japanese Cargo Craft Launches to Space Station

A brand new Japanese cargo module filled with supplies and science experiments successfully lifted-off from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan today, on it's first flight to dock with the international space station.

The cargo craft, known as the H-II Transfer Vehicle, will spend one week in earth orbit prior to docking with space station's Kibo Japanese module.

Launch of the first flight of the H-IIB rocket occurred on time at 1:01:46 pm EDT (2:01 am Sept. 11) from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at Tanegashima. The H-IIB is an improved version of the H-IIA in support of larger and heavier payloads such as the HTV.

Towering 56.6 meters in height, the H-IIB rocket is powered at launch with two liquid engines at the base of the first stage and four small solid rocket boosters.

Japan's entry into the resupply cargo crafts for station follow's both Russia's Soyuz Progress M and Europe's ATV unmanned vehicles in support of station operations. The three crafts will be the supply ships for the six-member crew aboard station as the space shuttle retires in late-2010.

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