ISS Astronauts Await Science Cargo Aboard Japanese Spacecraft

Six crew members on board the International Space Station (ISS) are waiting for more than 4,000 kg of research and supplies set to reach the orbiting laboratory on Monday.

If weather permits, the “Kounotori” or “White Stork” H-II Transfer Vehicle-5 (HTV-5) from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) will deliver a key science load to the ISS.

The supplies will carry a group of CubeSat-class satellites.

“These small satellites will capture imagery of Earth for use in humanitarian, environmental, and commercial applications,” the US space agency said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Expedition 44 crew continued a series of biomedical studies, physics experiments and maintenance tasks.

Three cosmonauts participated in ultrasound scans and blood pressure checks.

The team, consisting of commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Oleg Kononenko, also subjected themselves to vision checks for an ocular health study.

Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly collected blood and urine samples and stored them in a science freezer for the “Fluid Shifts” study.

“Data from the expedition will be used to determine whether there are ways to further reduce the risks on future long-duration missions to an asteroid and eventually Mars,” Nasa said.

Rendezvous and grapple of the HTV-5 now is scheduled for approximately 6:55am EDT (4:30pm IST) on Monday, August 24. Nasa TV coverage will begin at 5:15am EDT (2:45pm IST) Installation coverage will now begin at 9:15am EDT (6:15pm IST) for installation at approximately 9:45am EDT (6:45pm IST).

Japanese Rocket Successfully Launched With Cargo for ISS

A Japanese rocket blasted off Wednesday carrying emergency supplies in an unmanned cargo vessel bound for the International Space Station.

The H-IIB rocket lifted off from the southern island of Tanegashima at 8:50pm (11:50am GMT or 5:20pm IST) after the launch was postponed twice due to weather conditions, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said.

About 15 minutes later the rocket released the 5.5-tonne cargo vessel called “Kounotori” (stork in Japanese), which contains supplies including food, water, clothing and tools necessary for experiments in space.

“It was released successfully and we will check if it now can go into its scheduled orbit,” said an official of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a launch partner.

The mission should reach the International Space Station, where Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui is staying, on August 24.

Yui has been tasked with catching the cargo vessel with robotic arms and then affixing it to the space station.

The cargo also contains parts for a water recycling system, after the US-based National Aeronautics and Space Administration Nasa asked its Japanese counterparts to include them as “emergency materials” following the failure in June to launch the US Falcon 9 rocket.

The unmanned SpaceX rocket exploded minutes after lift-off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, marking a major setback for the company headed by technology tycoon Elon Musk.

The accident was the third in less than a year involving US and Russian supply ships bound for the International Space Station, and raised new concerns about the flow of food and gear to the astronauts living in orbit.

Japan Rocket Set to Blast Off for ISS on Wednesday

A Japanese rocket is set to blast off later Wednesday, carrying emergency supplies and an unmanned cargo vessel bound for the International Space Station.

The H-IIB rocket is set to lift off from the southern island of Tanegashima at 8:50pm (11:50am GMT or 5:20pm IST) after the launch was postponed twice due to weather conditions, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.

Officials from the government run agency said the launch was still on schedule as of Wednesday afternoon.

The rocket will carry a 5.5-tonne cargo vessel called “kounotori” (stork in Japanese), which contains supplies including food, water, clothing and tools necessary for experiments to be done in space.

Television footage showed the rocket loaded with the cargo being erected at the launcher on Wednesday.

The mission should reach the International Space Station, where Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui is staying, on August 24.

Yui has been tasked with catching the cargo vessel with robotic arms and then affixing it to the space station.

The rocket will also carry parts for a water recycling system, after US-based Nasa asked its Japanese counterparts to include them as “emergency materials” in the cargo following the failure in June to launch a US Falcon 9 rocket.

The unmanned SpaceX rocket exploded minutes after lift off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, marking a major setback for the fast-charging company headed by technology tycoon Elon Musk.

The accident was the third in less than a year involving US and Russian supply ships bound for the International Space Station, and raised new concerns about the flow of food and gear to the astronauts living in orbit.