Japan's Kounotori 7 Cargo Craft Launched Successfully

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Tanegashima, Kagoshima Pref., Sept. 23 (Jiji Press)--Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. <7011> and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, successfully launched the Kounotori 7 unmanned cargo spacecraft in the small hours of Sunday.

The H-2B Launch Vehicle No. 7 carrying the Japanese cargo craft designed to deliver goods to the International Space Station lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan at 2:52 a.m. (5:52 p.m. Saturday GMT). About 15 minutes after the launch, Kounotori 7 was separated from the rocket.

The unmanned craft is slated to come close to the ISS, which is at a point about 400 kilometers above Earth, on Thursday night Japan time. It will then dock with the ISS after being caught by a robotic arm.

Also loaded onto Kounotori 7 is a compact re-entry capsule for collecting experiment samples and bringing them back to Earth. It is the first time for a Kounotori spacecraft to carry such a capsule.

Noting that all Kounotori vehicles have been launched successfully, JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa said at a press conference: "Kounotori is the only cargo spacecraft capable of transporting large and heavy items. We hope to maintain the ability."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press