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Japan readies to launch third HTV supply ship to ISS
Posted On: Jun 08, 2012
The KOUNOTORI space capsule. A JAXA photo
Japan's third unmanned spacecraft, H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV3), is getting ready for launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on a supply mission next month.
The cargo craft, also called KOUNOTORI3, is scheduled to fly to the orbital outpost by the H-IIB carrier rocket on July 21.
It will be packed with food and daily necessities for astronauts aboard the ISS, test equipment for aquatic organisms, and other experiment devices including a small satellite, Japanese space agency JAXA said.
At present, integrated system checkout is being conducted smoothly at the Tanegashima Space Center after the spacecraft's assembly process was completed, the agency said.
The HTV, or KOUNOTORI, is a 33 feet-long and 14 feet wide gold-coloured cylinder-shaped space capsule capable of carrying up to 6 tons of pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the ISS in orbit at an altitude of about 400 kilometers.
Japan launched the first HTV to the ISS in 2009 and the second spacecraft of the series flew in January 2011.
Presently, cargo vessels on space supply missions are being launched by space agencies of Russia, Europe and Japan after the retirement of US Space Shuttle fleet in July last year.
Last month, California-based firm SpaceX created history by becoming the world's first private company to successfully berth its Dragon cargo capsule with the ISS.
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