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Japan successfully launches H-2B rocket

  • September 25, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 1:42 a.m.
  • English Press

Tanegashima, Kagoshima Pref., Sept. 25 (Jiji Press)–An H-2B rocket was successfully launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, in the small hours of Wednesday.


The H-2B Launch Vehicle No. 8 blasted off at 1:05 a.m. (4:05 p.m. Tuesday GMT), carrying the Kounotori 8 unmanned cargo spacecraft. Kounotori 8 entered the planned orbit about 15 minutes later.


The liftoff, initially planned for Sept. 11, was postponed due to a fire at the launchpad.


Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. <7011>, which manages the launch operation, took preventive measures based on its finding that the fire was caused by static electricity after liquid oxygen leaked from the rocket engine dripped onto heat-resistant material on the launchpad.


Kounotori 8 carries fresh food for astronauts in the International Space Station along with experimental apparatus and batteries. The total supplies weigh 5.3 tons.


Tanks containing nitrogen and oxygen were mounted on the unmanned spacecraft for the first time.


Kounotori 8 also carries satellites developed by the Kyushu Institute of Technology and the University of Tokyo, respectively, with overseas organizations. The satellites are to be released from Japan’s Kibo experimental module of the ISS.


In Kounotori 8, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, has employed technologies to be used for HTV-X, Kounotori’s envisaged successor under development.


The transportation capacity of the unmanned spacecraft has increased by 30 pct in size after JAXA renewed racks on which cargo is fixed.

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