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JAXA HTV-6 Bound for International Space Station, Gets TV Coverage from NASA

Dec 07, 2016 04:58 AM EST
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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will launch its H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)-6 on Friday, December 9 at 8:26 a.m. EST (10:26 p.m. Japan time) from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.

The Japanese cargo ship's launch to the International Space Station (ISS) and arrival at the orbiting laboratory will be live streamed through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) official television channel and website from December 9 to 13. NASA TV coverage of the launch will begin at 8:00, an official press release from the space agency stated.

Dubbed "Kounotori," which means "white stork" in Japanese, the unmanned cargo spacecraft will go on a four-day journey to the International Space Station. JAXA's HTV-6 is carrying over 4.5 tons of supplies, water, spare parts, and experiment hardware for the six-person station crew.

An article by Space Daily reports the Japanese resupply spacecraft is also loaded with six new lithium-ion batteries and adapter plates that will replace the nickel-hydrogen batteries currently used on the station to store electrical energy generated by the station's solar arrays, which are expected to be installed on spacewalks scheduled January next year.

By Tuesday, December 13, HTV-6 is expected to approach ISS from below and move towards the complex slowly. Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) will work on the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm from the station's cupola to reach out and grapple the 12-ton spacecraft and install it on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module, where it will stay for more than five weeks. Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA will monitor HTV-6 systems during the rendezvous and grapple, America Space writes.

On its website, NASA documents the series of preparation being done by the Expedition 50 crew for the arrival of JAXA's HTV-6 resupply ship next week.

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