Japan's HTV-2 Off the Pad

Japan's HTV-2 Off the Pad

Japan launched its HTV cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) at 12:38 am EST Saturday morning (2:38 pm Japan Standard Time).

This is the second launch of the HTV (HTV2). The U.S. space shuttle, Russia’s Progress, and Europe’s ATV are the other spacecraft that take cargo to the ISS. The space shuttle is the only one that can return cargo to the Earth. Three more space shuttle flights remain. (Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft is used to take crews to and from the ISS, but it has extremely limited capability — about 50 kilograms — to carry anything other than three crew.)

The HTV is launched on Japan’s H2 launch vehicle from Japan’s Tanegashima launch facility. It will take eight days for the HTV to rendezvous and berth with the ISS on the nadir side of the Harmony module.

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