ATK Confident of Role in NASA HLV Project

Space News reports that ATK is confident that its solid rocket boosters will continue to be part of NASA’s heavy-lift rocket design:

Solid-rocket-motor manufacturer ATK on Feb. 3 sought to persuade investors that its position in NASA’s future heavy-lift rocket program is getting stronger despite ongoing debate over the vehicle’s cost and schedule.

Minneapolis-based ATK, whose $500 million in annual NASA revenue during the shuttle era is now being reduced to around $300 million a year, said the lower figure seems stable for the foreseeable future given the state of the debate in Washington over what NASA’s heavy-lift rocket will look like.


International Flotilla of Cargo Ships Heads for ISS

International Space Station

NASA Program Update

A quick succession of international space supply trucks will arrive on the International Space Station’s loading docks early in 2011, dropping off more than 11 tons (10,000 kilograms) of food, computers, medical equipment and supplies, spare parts and experiment gear – not to mention the necessities of everyday human life in orbit.

Demonstrating a multinational commitment to supporting life, work and research on the station at the start of its second decade, space trucks from Japan, Europe and Russia will launch to the station in January and February, followed quickly by the space shuttle Discovery.


NASA to Broadcast HTV Launch, Docking Operations


The launch of the H-II Transfer Vehicle “Kounotori2” (HTV2) planned for Thursday, Jan. 20, was rescheduled due to a forecast for weather conditions that would exceed launch restrictions. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency reset the launch for 11:37 p.m. CST on Friday, Jan. 21.

NASA still plans live television coverage of the launch from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. With an adjusted rendezvous plan, the grapple and attachment of the cargo ship to the International Space Station remain planned for Thursday, Jan. 27, and also will be covered live on NASA Television.

NASA TV’s updated programming schedule for HTV2 events includes (all times CST):

Friday, Jan. 21:

11 p.m. — Launch coverage, anchored from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, begins. Launch is scheduled at 11:37 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 27:

5 a.m. — Grapple coverage, anchored from Johnson, begins. The grapple of HTV2 is scheduled at 5:44 a.m.
8 a.m. — Berthing coverage, anchored from Johnson, begins. The attachment should be complete at approximately 10 a.m.

For more information about Kounotori2 and the H-IIB launch vehicle, visit:

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:

For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video information, visit:

Japan Delays HTV Launch

The launch of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 2 (H-IIB F2) with the KOUNOTORI2 (HTV2, a cargo transporter to the International Space Station) on board has been rescheduled as clouds including a freezing layer that exceeds the restrictions for suitable weather are forecast to be generated at around the scheduled launch time on January 20, 2011 (Japan Standard Time.)

The new launch day will be no earlier than January 22 (Sat.,) 2011 (Japan Standard Time, JST).

The launch was originally scheduled for 3:29:19 p.m. on January 20 (Thur.,) (JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center.

The new launch day and time will be announced as soon as it is decided.

Source: JAXA PAO

Schedule for H-IIB Launch Next Week


KOUNOTORI2/H-IIB F2 live launch broadcast starts at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 20!

JAXA will broadcast a live launch report of the KOUNOTORI2/H-IIB Launch Vehicle No.2 from 2:30 p.m. on January 20 (Thur.) You can watch the live report at public viewing sites including JAXA offices and science museums as well as through cable TV and some websites. Why don’t you watch the live launch with us?

Broadcast Schedule

  1. KOUNOTORI2(HTV2)/H-IIB No.2 Launch:
    from 2:30 p.m. on January 20 (Thu, JST) (for one and a half hours)
  2. Final Approach to the ISS, Capture by the SSRMS:
    from 7:50 p.m. on January 27 (Thu, JST) (for one hour)
  3. HTV docking with the ISS:
    from 10:30 p.m. on January 27 (Thu, JST) (for one hour)

The rocket will send the second HTV (named “KOUNOTORI” or “white stork”) aloft with supplies for the International Space Station.


JAXA Completes H-IIB Cryo Test, HTV 2 Set to Go for ISS Flight

Dec. 16, 2010

On December 16, JAXA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. conducted a cryogenic test of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 2 (H-IIB F2) at the Tanegashima Space Center. The launch vehicle and the ground system were connected for the test and all the launch operation procedures just prior to ignition were simulated in the same manner as on the launch day. As a result, no problem was found in functions and data of the launch vehicle and the ground system. We will thus move forward to be ready for launch.

The launch of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 2 (H-IIB F2) with the H-II Transfer Vehicle 2 (HTV2, a cargo transporter to the International Space Station) onboard was reported to the Space Activities Commission (SAC) is as follows.

Scheduled date of launch: January 20 (Thursday), 2011 (Japan Standard Time, JST)
Launch time: Around 3:29 p.m. (JST)*1
Launch windows: January 21 (Fri.) through February 28 (Mon.), 2011 (JST)*2
Launch Site: Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center

(*1) Time will be determined by the updated orbit of the International Space Station (ISS.)
(*2) The launch day and time during the launch windows shall be decided by the international coordination for ISS operations.

DARPA Close to Completing Investigation into HTV-2 Failure

Falcon hypersonic technology vehicle (HTV)

Global Security Newswire reports that defense officials are close to finishing their investigation into the failure of the HTV-2 hypersonic vehicle on April 22:

A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency review board “is in the last phases of its internal review” of the Hypersonic Test Vehicle-2’s maiden flight test and should report out in “the next month or so,” Zachary Lemnios said at a breakfast session with reporters this morning. “When that review board finishes their work, we’ll come out with a statement on exactly what’s happened.”


Japan Looks to Convert HTV for Human Spaceflight

A brief update from The Mainichi Daily News on Japan’s plans to convert its HTV freighter for human spaceflight:

The three plans for the HTV-R are: equipping the HTV with a capsule measuring dozens of centimeters in diameter; equipping the HTV with a capsule similar to the Russian Soyuz spacecraft’s return capsule measuring 2.6 meters in diameter; and remodeling the HTV’s cargo space into a large capsule measuring 4 meters in diameter and 3.8 meters high.

Of these plans, JAXA is focusing mainly on plans two and three that can be converted into manned spacecraft. The space agency intends to make a final decision by the end of the current fiscal year and launch the first HTV-R sometime between 2016 and 2018.

We’ll see what happens…

Giant Station Arm to Grab JAXA’s HTV Freighter


Cargo spaceship meets the catcher in the sky


If the first launch of Japan’s new heavy-lifting rocket passes without incident this month, the residents of the International Space Station will soon be taking delivery of food, water, some spanking new laptops, a robot arm and a couple of Earth-observing experiments. Business as usual, you might think, except that the way this particular cargo gets to its destination is subtly different to its predecessors.


Japan to Stream HTV Launch on Friday, Sept. 11



The H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) Demonstration Flight and the H-IIB Launch Vehicle are undergoing final launch preparations at the Vehicle Assembly Building waiting for their launch on Sept. 11 (Fri.) JAXA will broadcast a live launch report through the Internet from 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 11th (Japan Standard Time)  [12:30 p.m. ET Thursday, Sept. 10]. You can enjoy the dynamism of the launch at the Tanegashima Space Center from your home. We welcome your supportive messages to the HTV and H-IIB project teams who are working hard to be ready for the launch.

You can see the launch on the JAXA website.

The date and time of the live launch broadcast are subject to change due to the orbit of the International Space Station, launch preparation status, weather conditions and other factors.