The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched Friday (July 20) its third H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-3) "Kounotori-3" to the International Space Station. The unmanned spacecraft lifted off atop a Japanese H-IIB rocket at 10:06 p.m. EDT (0206 GMT July 21) from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan.
A little over six days from now on July 27, Kounotori-3 is scheduled to be grappled by the Expedition 32 crew using the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm and attached to the forward end of the Harmony module to begin a stay of just under a month.
Aboard Kounotori-3, which translates to "white stork," is about 7,000 pounds (3,175 kilograms) of equipment, supplies and experiments in a pressurized cargo compartment along with more than 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms) of unpressurized experiments.
The payload for the station includes an aquatic habitat experiment, a catalytic reactor for the station's water regeneration system, five small satellites (three from Japan and two from NASA), a Japanese satellite deployment device, an area-entry data recorder and a re-entry data acquisition system and a Japanese cooling water recirculation pump.
The eight resupply racks inside the HTV are loaded with a variety of supplies and equipment, much of it in cargo transfer bags.
Above: JAXA's H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) Kounotori-3 logo.
The unpressurized cargo includes two devices, the Japanese Multi-mission Consolidated Equipment and the NASA Communications, Navigation and Networking re-configurable Testbed, also known as SCAN, or Space Communications and Navigation test bed.
The Japanese housing supports five experiments to be installed on the outside of Japan's Kibo Laboratory. The NASA experiment looks at software to establish communication between Ku-band and S-band via the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) system and will also be installed outside the station, on an express logistics carrier on the port truss.
After about 29 days attached to the station, HTV-3, now re-loaded by the station's crew with trash and no longer needed equipment, will be unberthed to be incinerated during re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.