Astronomy and Space News - Astro Watch: HTV-7 Launch Rescheduled to September 15

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

HTV-7 Launch Rescheduled to September 15

HTV-7 at the Second Spacecraft Test and Assembly Building, the Tanegashima Space Center. Photo Credit: JAXA.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has once again postponed its seventh cargo flight to the International Space Station (ISS) due to unfavorable weather conditions. The launch of the HTV-7 (Kounotori 7) spacecraft is now targeted for Saturday, September 15, around 6:00 a.m. local time (5:00 p.m. EDT, September 14).

The HTV-7 mission was poised to be launched to ISS atop an H-IIB booster on September 11 local time at 7:32 a.m. (6:32 p.m. EDT, September 10) from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. However, adverse weather, including strong winds caused by a typhoon near Guam, forced JAXA to put the launch on hold.

JAXA announced the decision to postpone the liftoff on September 9, not determining the new launch date. Two days later, the agency disclosed that after careful examination of the weather, the launch was rescheduled to September 14, around 6:20 a.m. local time (5:20 p.m. EDT, September 13).

Now, today’s press release issued by JAXA, based on a new weather forecast, delays the liftoff by almost 24 hours.

“Due to an unfavorable weather forecast for the launch day, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have postponed the launch of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 7 (H-IIB F7) which carries aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle ‘Kounotori-7’ (HTV-7),” JAXA wrote in a press release.

However, the new launch date and the exact liftoff time are subject to change as they are dependent on weather forecasts, ISS operations and the station’s current orbit. The reserve launch window expires October 31.

The latest postponement of HTV-7 launch means that the cargo craft should arrive at the ISS NET September 18, at around 7:25 a.m. EDT, as it needs around three and a half days to get to the orbital outpost. Built by MHI, the 23,100-pound (10,500-kilogram) vessel is loaded with about 6.2 metric tons of supplies, fresh food, water, spare parts and experiments.

The cargo aboard HTV-7 includes six new lithium-ion batteries for the station. Given that two spacewalks, on September 20 and September 26, are planned with a main task to replace the old nickel-hydrogen batteries with the new lithium-ion units, HTV-7 launch delays could also reschedule these extravehicular activities.

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