Spaceflight Insider

Kounotori-5 successfully delivers cargo to ISS crew

Japan Aerospace Exploration HTV White Stork Kounotori-5 International Space Station ISS NASA photo posted on SpaceFlight Insider

Photo Credit: NASA

Late in the morning of Monday, Aug. 24, at 10:02 a.m. EDT (14:02 GMT), Japan’s Kounotori-5 (HTV-5) spacecraft was successfully berthed to the International Space Station. After a final approach that started in the very early hours of the morning, the initial capture was made with the Canadarm2 at 6:28 a.m. EDT (10:28 GMT). The cargo freighter was then bolted to the station’s Earth-facing port on the Harmony module.

JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui and NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren undergo the SSRMS training for the robotic capture of the H-II Transfer Vehicle 5 (KOUNOTORI 5) on August 12, 2015. Photo Credit: NASA/JAXA

JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui and NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren undergo the SSRMS training for the robotic capture of the H-II Transfer Vehicle 5 (KOUNOTORI-5) on August 12, 2015. (Click to enlarge.) Photo Credit: NASA / JAXA

Six days ago on Aug. 19, the HTV-5 spacecraft was launched aboard the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ H-IIB rocket with more than 8,000 lbs (3629 kg) worth of pressurized cargo.

Within the unpressurized compartment of the spacecraft, it also carried the 1,400 lb (635 kg) CALorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET) that will be used to find dark matter.

Monday’s capture by the station’s robotic arm occurred shortly before berthing by Expedition 44 astronaut Kimiya Yui as the capsule traveled over South America, near Brazil.

Among the cargo delivered by Kounotori-5 were food, supplies, CubeSats, and external experiments like CALET that will be secured to the space station’s Kibo laboratory module.

After HTV-5 was successfully secured to the ISS, JAXA President Naoki Okumura remarked:

“Firmly operated by a joint Japan and U.S. ground control team, KOUNOTORI-5 arrived at the ISS at the appointed time and was captured by Astronaut Yui’s precise robotic arm operation with Astronaut Wakata’s well-experienced communication from NASA Mission Control Center. Combined these efforts, we could satisfy the global expectation for the mission success.

“As a member of this international project, I am proud that we could successfully deliver the cargo indispensable for ISS operation using Japan’s accumulated capabilities of the robotics technology, stable operation technology, and our astronauts.”

Kounotori-5 will now spend the next five weeks attached to the space station before being filled with items for disposal in preparation for its departure. The HTV-5 craft is not reusable and, therefore, upon re-entry, it will burn up after it is directed to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.


Britt Rawcliffe is a professional freelance aerospace and aviation photographer based out of Pennsylvania with over six years of professional photographic experience. Her creative imagery has spanned into all areas relating to space, including launches, photojournalism, architecture, and portraiture. Britt’s passion for history has been a common thread in much of her work, including having photographed many Moonwalkers such as Buzz Aldrin and Gene Cernan.

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