Friday, August 28, 2009

NASA Sets Briefing, TV Coverage of Japan's First Cargo Spacecraft

NASA will hold a news briefing at 12:30 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, Sept. 2, to preview the maiden launch and flight of Japan's unpiloted H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.

NASA Television will broadcast the briefing live from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Participants in the briefing will include officials from NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). NASA TV also will broadcast live HTV's launch and flight.

The HTV is scheduled to lift off on an H-IIB rocket from JAXA's Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan at approximately noon Sept. 10 (about 2 a.m. Sept. 11 Japan time). NASA TV coverage of the launch will begin at 11:45 a.m. The HTV will augment the European Space Agency's Automated Transportation Vehicles and the Russian Progress ships that deliver supplies to the space station.

NASA conducted an HTV readiness review on Aug. 27. The HTV was formally approved for flight and rendezvous. The launch window will be open from Sept. 10-30. In the event of a launch postponement after the H-IIB rocket is fueled, a 72-hour turnaround will be required before the next launch attempt.

As the 16.5-ton cargo craft makes its week-long journey to the space station, flight controllers in Tsukuba, Japan, and at Mission Control in Houston will conduct a number of tests of HTV's rendezvous and navigation systems.

NASA TV coverage of the cargo craft's arrival at the station will begin at 2 p.m. Sept. 17. As the HTV moves within about 40 feet of the orbiting laboratory, space station crew members will capture the craft using the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm. The crew then will attach the HTV to an Earth-facing docking port on the station's Harmony connecting module. The robotic maneuvers are set to begin at about 2:50 p.m. Sept. 17.

The HTV will remain attached to the station for about six weeks while supplies are transferred. In addition to interior supplies and equipment, two new experiments carried on the exterior of the HTV will be moved to the Japanese Kibo module's external experiment porch using a combination of maneuvers with the station's Canadarm2 and Kibo's robotic arm.

No comments: