After taking off from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan last Friday, Dec. 9, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Kounotori H-II Transfer Vehicle-6 (HTV-6) arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) Tuesday, Dec. 13.
The Japanese cargo spacecraft was successfully captured by Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency). The ISS crew used the station's robotic arm, Canadarm2, 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.
— NASA (@NASA) December 13, 2016
Beautiful #HTV6 @Space_Station. @NASA and @ESA astronauts using @csa_asc robot arm to capture @JAXA_en spacecraft. Proud of Int’l. #Teamwork pic.twitter.com/1du9A5HEjA — Shane Kimbrough (@astro_kimbrough) December 13, 2016
The space station was reportedly flying 50 miles over southern Chile at the time of capture. Robotic ground controllers, on the other hand, have installed the resupply vehicle around 8:57 a.m.
The unpiloted cargo spacecraft from Japan went through a four-day journey to the International Space Station, and is carrying more than 4.5 tons of supplies, water, spare parts, and experiment hardware for the six-person station crew.
The White Stork also delivered 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, Space Daily reports. These lithium ion batteries are scheduled to be fitted during a series of robotic operations and spacewalks sometime late December and January next year.
Other than that, according to NASA, "The spacecraft is also bringing the Technology Education (TechEdSat-5) nanosatellite, which includes the Exo-Brake technology demonstration mission. The Exo-Brake technology is a tension-based, flexible braking device that could help bring small payloads back through Earth's atmosphere unharmed, accurately de-orbiting through a series of adjustments to modulate drag. Exo-Brake deployment is targeted for early 2017."
NASA TV covered the entire mission of JAXA's Kounotori 6 from launch, arrival to ISS, and berthing.
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