Resupply Mission for Space Station

JAXA rocket launch

Image courtesy of Japan Space Agency/NASA

Resupply Mission for Space Station
| published August 20, 2015 |

By Thursday Review staff

The launch of the H-IIB rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan this week means that a crucial resupply mission is underway for the International Space Station. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) rocket took off early on Wednesday right on schedule, and within 15 minutes had successfully achieved separation of the its cargo module, the HTV-5 spacecraft, from the booster rocket. It is now in orbit around the Earth.

Aboard the HTV-5 are more than 9,000 pounds of cargo intended for the ISS and its international crew. Among the stuff being ferried into orbit: a wide variety of supplies—bottled water, food, snacks, research materials, batteries, tools—as well as not-so-routine materials, such as the CALorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET) and related gear for studies of dark matter and measurements of cosmic rays.

Though the original manifest called for primarily scientific and technology materials in the limited payload, both NASA and JAXA retooled this mission to make-up for the shortfall caused by the explosion last month of a Space-X resupply rocket. Among the things lost in the Space-X mission but now included in the HTV-5 is an improved filtration system for the water supply aboard the space station.

Next week, Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui, flight engineer, will use the ISS robotic arm to capture the HTV-5 upon its rendezvous with the space station.

This mission is intended in part to make sure that all ISS crew members have adequate rations of food and other supplies through the end of this year.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Biomedical Experiments on Space Station; Keith H. Roberts; Thursday Review; August 6, 2015.

Falcon 9 Explodes After Launch; Thursday Review staff; Thursday Review; June 28, 2015.