Japan Spacecraft Docks at International Space Station

The third in a series of robotic Japanese spaceships safely arrived at the International Space Station on Friday, bearing a delivery of food, equipment and student science experiments for the orbital outpost.

The unmanned, school bus-size H-2 Transfer Vehicle-3 (HTV-3), also called Kounotori 3 (“White Stork” in Japanese), flew to about 40 feet (12 meters) away from the ISS, where it was grabbed at 8:23 a.m. ET by the space station’s 58-foot long (18 m) robotic arm, which was controlled from inside by astronauts Joe Acaba of NASA and Aki Hoshide of JAXA (the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency).

Using the Canadarm2 robotic arm, Acaba and Hoshide maneuvered Kounotori 3 to the Earth-facing docking port on the space station’s Harmony node at 10:34 a.m. ET.

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Japan Launching Robotic Cargo Ship to International Space Station

Japan is set to launch a new unmanned cargo spaceship to deliver goods to the International Space Station today July 20.

The robotic spacecraft, called H-2 Transfer Vehicle-3 HTV-3, is the third of its kind to travel to the orbiting laboratory, where six astronauts from three countries are currently living and working.

HTV-3 is due to lift off at 10:06 p.m. EDT 0206 GMT Saturday, or 11:06 a.m. Japan time Saturday from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. The spacecraft will fly atop a Japanese H-2B rocket. It is the second launch toward the space station in a week. A Soyuz space capsule launched on late Saturday July 15 to ferry three members of the space stations crew to the orbiting lab.

Japan’s latest spaceship, nicknamed Kounotori 3 “White Stork 3” in Japanese, will take about a week to reach the 240 mile high 386 kilometers space station. It is scheduled to arrive on July 27, when astronauts inside the outpost will reach out and grab the Japanese vessel with the stations Canadarm2 robotic arm.

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