Japanese cargo ship headed for space station

This image from Japanese television shows the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) H-IIB rocket launched at 6:50 a.m. on Aug. 19.

Credit: JAXA

JOHNSON SPACE CENTER — After some weather delays, a Japanese cargo ship successfully launched Wednesday morning headed for the International Space Station.

The fifth H-II Transfer Vehicle — HTV-5 — from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will arrive at the space station in about five days. It is carrying more than 9,500 pounds of research and supplies for the six-person station crew.

The 4.5 tons of supplies include water, spare parts and experiment hardware for the six-person space station crew. The unpiloted cargo craft is named Kounotori, which is Japanese for “white stork.

Expedition 44 Flight Engineers Kimiya Yui of JAXA and Kjell Lindgren of NASA will operate the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to reach out and grapple the 12-ton spacecraft and install it on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module, where it will spend five weeks. Flight Engineer Scott Kelly will monitor HTV-5 systems during the rendezvous and grapple.

Meanwhile, Kelly conducted more eye checks for the Ocular Health study, which observes microgravity’s long-term effects on an astronaut’s vision.

He booted up a pair of micro-satellites for the SPHERES-Vertigo experiment that studies 3D visual inspection and navigation techniques.

In preparation for a Sept. 2 launch, three new Soyuz taxi crewmembers tried on their Sokol spacesuits and checked their Soyuz systems at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

They will wear the spacesuits when they launch Sept. 2 on the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft for a 10-day mission to the orbital laboratory.

European astronaut Andres Mogensen will accompany flight Engineer Sergey Volkov.

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