Spaceflight Insider

HTV-7 launch rescheduled to September 15

HTV-7 at the Second Spacecraft Test and Assembly Building, the Tanegashima Space Center.

HTV-7 at the Second Spacecraft Test and Assembly Building, the Tanegashima Space Center. Photo Credit: JAXA.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has once again postponed its seventh cargo flight to the International Space Station (ISS) due to unfavorable weather conditions. The launch of the HTV-7 (Kounotori 7) spacecraft is now targeted for Saturday, Sept.r 15, around 6:00 a.m. local time (5:00 p.m. EDT, Sept. 14).

The HTV-7 mission was poised to be launched to ISS atop an H-IIB booster on September 11 local time at 7:32 a.m. (6:32 p.m. EDT, September 10) from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. However, adverse weather, including strong winds caused by a typhoon near Guam, forced JAXA to put the launch on hold.

JAXA announced the decision to postpone the Sept. 9, without providing a new launch date. Two days later, the agency disclosed that after careful examination of the weather, the launch was rescheduled to Sept. 14, around 6:20 a.m. local time (5:20 p.m. EDT, September 13).

A press release issued today by JAXA, noted that the decision was based on a new weather forecast, and stated the liftoff would be delayed by almost 24 hours.

“Due to an unfavorable weather forecast for the launch day, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have postponed the launch of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 7 (H-IIB F7) which carries aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle ‘Kounotori-7’ (HTV-7),” JAXA noted in the release.

However, the new launch date and the exact liftoff time are subject to change as they are dependent on weather forecasts, ISS operations and the station’s current orbit. The reserve launch window expires October 31.

The latest postponement of HTV-7 launch means that the cargo craft should arrive at the ISS NET Sept. 18, at around 7:25 a.m. EDT, as it needs around three and a half days to get to the orbital outpost. Built by MHI, the 23,100-lbs (10,500-kilogram) vessel is loaded with about 6.2 metric tons of supplies, fresh food, water, spare parts and experiments.

The cargo aboard HTV-7 includes six new lithium-ion batteries for the station. Given that two spacewalks, on Sept. 20 and Sept. 26, are planned and whose primary task is to replace the old nickel-hydrogen batteries with the new lithium-ion units, HTV-7 launch delays could also impact these extravehicular activities.

 

 

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Tomasz Nowakowski is the owner of Astro Watch, one of the premier astronomy and science-related blogs on the internet. Nowakowski reached out to SpaceFlight Insider in an effort to have the two space-related websites collaborate. Nowakowski's generous offer was gratefully received with the two organizations now working to better relay important developments as they pertain to space exploration.

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