Grapple with this

Unpiloted cargo was snared and installed on the space station last month.


Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA shared this photograph of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kounotori H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-6) as it approached the International Space Station on 12 December.

Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency successfully captured the 12-tonne spacecraft using the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm. Robotic ground controllers then installed it on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module. Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA monitored HTV-6 systems during the rendezvous and grapple.

The unpiloted cargo spacecraft is loaded with more than 4.5 tonnes of supplies, water, spare parts and experiment hardware for the six-person station crew. The spacecraft, named “Kounotori” – the Japanese word for white stork – launched on 9 December from the Tanegashima Space Centre in southern Japan. It also delivered six new lithium-ion batteries and adapter plates to replace nickel-hydrogen batteries.

The spacecraft was brought the Technology Education (TechEdSat-5) nanosatellite, which includes the Exo-Brake technology demonstration mission. The Exo-Brake technology is a tension-based, flexible braking device that could help bring small payloads back through Earth’s atmosphere unharmed, accurately de-orbiting through a series of adjustments to modulate drag. Exo-Brake deployment is targeted for early 2017.

Latest Stories
MoreMore Articles