Japan Unveils First HTV Cargo Carrier

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has unveiled the first flight model of its H-II Transfer Vehicle, which is set to deliver cargo to the International Space Station in summer 2009, Aviation Week reports.

The 10-meter long, 16.5-metric ton cargo ship will be the heaviest vehicle ever launched by Japan. It will be lofted into orbit by the country’s new Mitsubishi H-IIB rocket. The HTV is capable of supplying the station with about 6 metric tons of equipment and supplies. It will supplement Russia’s Progress and Europe’s ATV freighters.