By IndraStra Global News Team
Image Attribute: A file photo of the unpiloted Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) approaches the International Space Station. / Source: ISS020-E-041380, ISS Expedition 20, NASA/Wikipedia (Dated: September 17, 2009)
On September 10, 2019, a Japanese cargo spacecraft Kounotori 8, also known as H-II Transport Vehicle-8 (HTV-8) is scheduled to launch from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan to the International Space Station at 5:33 p.m. EDT (6:33 a.m. September 11 in Japan). It will be loaded with more than four tons of supplies, spare parts and experiment hardware.
Named Kounotori, meaning white stork in Japanese, the craft will deliver six new lithium-ion batteries and corresponding adapter plates that will replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for two power channels on the station's far port truss segment. The batteries will be installed through a series of robotics and spacewalks by the station's crew members later this year.
Additional experiments on board HTV-8 include an upgrade to the Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF-L), a small-sized satellite optical communication system (SOLISS), and a payload for testing the effects of gravity on powder and granular material (Hourglass).
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) unpiloted HTV-8 will launch on a Japanese H-IIB rocket on the tenth anniversary of the first HTV cargo spacecraft launch. Live coverage of the launch (will begin at 5:00 pm) and capture (will begin at 5:30 a.m) will air on NASA Television and the agency's website.
On September 14 (Saturday), the spacecraft will arrive at the station. Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Christina Koch of NASA, backed up by her NASA crewmate Andrew Morgan, will operate the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm from the station's cupola to capture the 12-ton spacecraft as it approaches from below. Robotics flight controllers will then take over the operation of the arm to install HTV-8 to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module where it will spend a month attached. Flight Engineer Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) will monitor HTV-8 systems during its approach to the station.
Capture of the HTV-8 is scheduled around 7 a.m. Coverage will resume at 8:30 a.m. for the final installation of the resupply craft to Harmony by robotic ground controllers. If the installation operations are running ahead of schedule, coverage would begin earlier.