TSUKUBA, Japan — Japan’s unmanned cargo vessel reached the International Space Station on Thursday to deliver supplies.
After transferring food, experiment devices and other materials, the vessel Kounotori7, named after storks in Japanese, will bring back experiment samples to Earth, the first such mission for the country, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
An H-2B rocket carrying the vessel lifted off Sunday from the Tanegashima Space Center in southwestern Japan. The vessel spent four days approaching the ISS, floating around 400 kilometers above Earth.
Around 6 tons of cargo including new lithium-ion battery cells manufactured by a Japanese company that will replace the nickel-hydrogen batteries currently used on the space station.
Kounotori7, loaded with trash from the ISS, is scheduled to burn up while re-entering Earth’s atmosphere in October or November, prior to which it will release a capsule containing the experiment samples, protein crystals grown on the space station, JAXA said.
The capsule will be retrieved near Japan’s Minamitori Island in the northwestern Pacific, it said.