Japan Scrubs The Launch Of Its Kounotori ‘White Stork’ Cargo Ship Once Again


Japan’s seventh resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is facing yet another delay.

After originally being set for September 10, the launch of the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle-7 (HTV-7) has been rescheduled twice this week and is once again being postponed, NASA announced in a blog post on September 14.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) first pushed back the launch date of its cargo delivery mission on September 9. The decision was based on the impending threat of Typhoon Mangkhut, which at the time was headed for Guam, where the agency has a tracking station necessary for the launch.

According to NASA, the HTV-7 cargo supply mission was later rescheduled for September 13 and then postponed for the next day.

The launch was supposed to take place at 4:59 p.m. EDT on September 14 (5:59 a.m. September 15 Japan standard time), NASA stated on Wednesday.

But it seems that the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 7 (H-IIB F7) slated to take the cargo ship into space will have to wait a while before it can finally lift off from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.

The mission has been put off for a third time, reports Space, noting that JAXA made the announcement on Twitter roughly one hour before the H-IIB F7 rocket was about to take off.

In a statement issued yesterday, JAXA specified that this latest cancellation stemmed from the need to conduct an additional investigation to the propulsion system of the H-IIB F7 rocket.

“Launch schedule updates will be informed when determined,” said officials from the Japanese space agency.

When the rocket does finally soar to the skies, the launch and the docking with the ISS will be livestreamed on NASA TV and NASA Live.

Nicknamed “Kounotori,” which means “White Stork” in Japanese, the HTV-7 cargo ship is packed with more than five tons of essential supplies for the crew of Expedition 56, including water, food, fuel, spare parts, and new science experiments, NASA revealed on Tuesday.

Once launched, the resupply vehicle will journey for 3.5 days before reaching the orbital outpost. The cargo ship will be captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm and installed on the ISS’ Harmony module.

Among the gear ferried by the Kounotori spacecraft are six new lithium-ion batteries for the space station, meant to be fitted on the Port 4 truss structure and hooked up by the astronauts during two spacewalks later this month.

The payload also includes Japan’s miniature space elevator, the first experiment of its kind in the entire world. The device is essentially a small box designed to act like an elevator car and will be tested with the help of two CubeSats connected by a 33-foot steel cable, the Inquisitr reported last week.