Kounotori 6

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Kounotori 6
HTV-6 grappled by the International Space Station's robotic arm (2).jpg
The SSRMS grapples the Kounotori 6 spacecraft, prior to berthing on 13 December.
Mission type ISS resupply
Operator JAXA
COSPAR ID 2016-076A
SATCAT no. 41881Edit this on Wikidata
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type HTV
Start of mission
Launch date 13:26:47, 9 December 2016 (2016-12-09T13:26:47)
Rocket H-IIB 304[citation needed]
Launch site Tanegashima Y2
Contractor Mitsubishi
End of mission
Disposal deorbited
Decay date 15:06, 5 February 2017 (2017-02-05T15:06)
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Inclination 51.6 degrees
Epoch Planned
Berthing at ISS
Berthing port Harmony nadir
RMS capture 13 December 2016, 10:37 UTC
Berthing date 13 December 2016, 13:57 UTC
Unberthing date 27 January 2017, 10:59 UTC
RMS release 27 January 2017, 15:45 UTC
Cargo
Mass 5.9 t
Pressurised 3.9 t
Unpressurised 1.9 t

Kounotori 6 (こうのとり6号機), also known as HTV-6, is the sixth flight of the H-II Transfer Vehicle, an unmanned cargo spacecraft launched to resupply the International Space Station. It was launched at 13:26:47 UTC on 9 December 2016 aboard H-IIB launch vehicle from Tanegashima Space Center.

Spacecraft[edit]

Major changes from previous Kounotori include:[1][2]

  • Built-in payloads to demonstrate new technologies: SFINKS and KITE, described below,
  • Reduction of primary batteries to 6 from previous 7,
  • Reduction of solar cell panels to 48 from previous 49,
  • Omission of some of navigation/position lights which were Earth-side when approaching to ISS.
  • Strengthened EP (Exposed Pallet) maximum payload to 1.9 t from previous 1.6 t to carry Li-ion batteries.

SFINKS (Solar Cell Film Array Sheet for Next Generation on Kounotori Six) will test thin film solar cells in space.[3]

Kounotori Integrated Tether Experiment[edit]

KITE (Kounotori Integrated Tether Experiment) was an experimental electrodynamic tether (EDT).[4][5] The tether was equipped with a 20 kg end-mass, and would have been 700 m long when deployed.[4][6][7] A maximum current of 10 mA was planned to run through the tether.[4] Kounotori's ISS rendezvous sensor would have been utilized to measure how the end-mass moves during the test.[4] The EDT experiment was scheduled following Kounotori 6's departure from the ISS, with a planned duration of one week.[4] After the experiment, the tether would have been separated before the spacecraft proceeds with the de-orbit maneuvers. The main objective of this experiment were the orbital demonstration of both extending an uncoated bare-tether, and driving electric currents through the EDT.[5] These two technologies will contribute to gaining capabilities to remove space debris.[5][8][9][10][11]

Cargo[edit]

Kounotori 6 carries about 5.9 t of cargo (including the support structure weight), consisting of 3.9 t in PLC (Pressurised Logistics Carrier) and 1.9 t in ULC (Unpressurised Logistics Carrier).[12]

Cargo in the pressurized compartment includes 30 bags filled with potable water (600 liters),[13][14] food, crew commodities, CDRA Bed (Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly), TPF (Two-Phase Flow) experiment unit, PS-TEPC (Position-Sensitive Tissue Equivalent Proportional Chamber) radiation measurement instrument, ExHAM (Exposed Experiment Handrail Attachment Mechanism), HDTV-EF2 hi-def and 4K camera, new J-SSOD (JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer), and CubeSats (AOBA-Velox III, TuPOD which comprises two TubeSats (Tancredo-1 and OSNSAT), EGG, ITF-2, STARS-C, FREEDOM, WASEDA-SAT3).[15][16][12] Cargo by NanoRacks includes TechEdSat-5,[17] CubeRider,[18] RTcMISS,[19] NREP-P DM7,[20][21] four Lemur-2.[22] Additionally, the Blue SPHERES satellite of the MIT Space Systems Laboratory is being returned to the ISS for continued autonomous systems research.[23][24][not in citation given]

Cargo in the unpressurized compartment consists of six Lithium-ion batteries and their associated adapter plates to replace existing nickel-hydrogen batteries of the ISS. Since each of the new Li-ion battery has a capability equivalent to two of the current Ni-H batteries, the six new batteries will replace twelve old batteries, out of the 48 existing batteries of the ISS.[13]

On departure from the ISS, Kounotori 6 will carry 9 out of the 12 replaced old batteries which will be disposed by destructive reentry into Earth's atmosphere. The 3 remaining old batteries will stay on the ISS.[14]

Operation[edit]

Launch[edit]

On 26 July 2016, the launch was scheduled for 30 September 2016,[25] but on 10 August 2016, postponement was announced due to the leak from piping.[26]

The H-IIB launch vehicle carrying Kounotori 6 lifted off at 13:26:47 UTC on 9 December 2016. 15 minutes 11 seconds later, Kounotori 6 was released into initial 200 km × 300 km orbit.[27][28]

SFINKS experiment payload began the data collection at 14:16, 9 December 2016, but it stopped unexpectedly after 509 seconds.[29]

After a series of orbital manoeuvres, Kounotori 6 arrived to the proximity of ISS and captured by SSRMS at 10:39 (10:37 according to NASA), 13 December 2016.[30][31] Kounotori was bolted to the CBM (Common Berthing Mechanism) of the Harmony nadir port by 13:48 UTC.[32]

Operation while berthed to ISS[edit]

Berthing operation completed at 18:24. 13 December 2016 UTC,[33] and the hatch opened at 19:44 UTC.[34]

Since 07:44, 14 December, Exposed Pallet (EP) was extracted from Unpressurised Logistics Carrier (ULC) of Kounotori by SSRMS and transferred to Payload and ORU Accommodation (POA).[35][36] After a combination of two Extra-Vehicular Activities and robotic operations, the Lithium-ion battery units and adapter plates were installed. The Exposed Pallet carrying old Nickel-hydrogen battery units was returned to Kounotori 6's Unpresurised Logistics Carrier on 23 January 2017.[37]

Departure from the ISS and reentry to the Earth atmosphere[edit]

SSRMS grappled and detached Kounotori 6 from the CBM of Harmony nadir port at 10:59, 27 January 2017,[38] and Kounotori 6 was released at 15:45, 27 January 2017.[39]

Following the undocking after moving to a safe distance from ISS, the Kounotori 6 was to demonstrate the "Kounotori Integrated Tether Experiment (KITE)" using electrodynamic tether to demonstrate space debris removal technology.[40] This experiment was planned for seven days before reentry to the Earth's atmosphere.[38] On Jan 31, media reported some problems in extending the tether, bringing to doubt the experiment's success.[41]

A series of deorbit manoeuvres were performed at 08:42, 10:12, and 14:42 of 5 February 2017 UTC.[42][43][44] Kounotori 6 reentered to Earth atmosphere over southern Pacific Ocean around 15:06, 5 February 2017 UTC.

References[edit]

  1. ^ JAXA (1 July 2016). 宇宙ステーション補給機「こうのとり」6号機(HTV6)の概要(その2) (PDF). 宇宙開発利用部会 調査・安全小委員会(第19回) 配付資料 (in Japanese). Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  2. ^ JAXA (1 July 2016). 宇宙ステーション補給機「こうのとり」6号機(HTV6)の接近・係留・離脱フェーズに係る安全検証結果について (PDF). 宇宙開発利用部会 調査・安全小委員会(第19回) 配付資料 (in Japanese). Retrieved 10 July 2016. 
  3. ^ "研究成果(より詳細な研究内容)" (in Japanese). JAXA Research and Development Directorate. Retrieved 2016-07-07. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "HTV搭載導電性テザー実証実験の検討状況について" (PDF) (in Japanese). JAXA. 2013-09-04. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c "JAXA、宇宙ゴミ除去技術の確立に向け「こうのとり」利用" (in Japanese). Response staff. 2013-09-09. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Japan tests innovative magnetic tether for slowing space junk". BBC News. 9 December 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  7. ^ "HTV-KITE Experiment – HTV-6 | Spaceflight101". spaceflight101.com. Retrieved 26 January 2017. 
  8. ^ "Japan launching 'space junk' collector (Update)". Retrieved 24 January 2017. 
  9. ^ "Japan launches 'space junk' collector". The Times of India. Retrieved 24 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "Japan launches space junk collector into orbit". RT International. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  11. ^ "Japanese spacecraft will test space junk collector on its way to the ISS – ExtremeTech". ExtremeTech. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2017. 
  12. ^ a b 宇宙ステーション補給機「こうのとり」6号機(HTV6)【ミッションプレスキット】 (PDF) (in Japanese). JAXA. 24 November 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  13. ^ a b 「こうのとり」6号機へのISSバッテリ搭載作業、水充填装置のプレス公開 (in Japanese). JAXA. June 3, 2016. Retrieved June 3, 2016. 
  14. ^ a b 国際宇宙ステーション用バッテリ・飲料水充填装置説明会 (in Japanese). NVS. June 1, 2016. Retrieved June 3, 2016. 
  15. ^ 「こうのとり」6号機に搭載する超小型衛星7基を公開しました (in Japanese). JAXA. November 7, 2016. Retrieved November 8, 2016. 
  16. ^ "TuPOD almost ready for launch". Group of Aerodynamics for the Use of Space Systems. July 27, 2016. Retrieved November 8, 2016. 
  17. ^ "NanoRacks". 9 December 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016. 
  18. ^ "NanoRacks". 9 December 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016. 
  19. ^ "NanoRacks". 9 December 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016. 
  20. ^ "NanoRacks". 9 December 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016. 
  21. ^ "NanoRacks-DM (NanoRacks-DM) – 11.23.16". NASA. Retrieved 11 December 2016. 
  22. ^ "NanoRacks". 10 December 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016. 
  23. ^ "MIT SPHERES Website". MIT. November 1, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2016. 
  24. ^ "SPHERES Blue Satellite Repair Complete". NASA Ames Research Center. October 6, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Launch of the H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI6" (HTV6) aboard the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 6". JAXA. 26 July 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
  26. ^ "Launch Postponement of H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 6 with H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI6" (HTV6) Onboard". JAXA. 10 August 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
  27. ^ "Launch success of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 6 (H-IIB F6) with the H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI6" on board". 10 December 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2016. 
  28. ^ H-II B・F6平成28年度ロケット打上げ計画書宇宙ステーション補給機「こうのとり」6号機(HTV6)/H-IIBロケット6号機(H-IIB・F6) (PDF). October 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2016. 
  29. ^ 「薄膜太陽電池フィルムアレイシートモジュール軌道上実証システム(SFINKS)」の状況について (in Japanese). JAXA. 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  30. ^ "SSRMS captures KOUNOTORI6". JAXA. 13 December 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  31. ^ "ISS Daily Summary Report – 12/13/2016". NASA. 13 December 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  32. ^ "KOUNOTORI6 fastened to Harmony with CBM bolts". JAXA. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  33. ^ "ISS Crew concludes KOUNOTORI6 berthing operations". JAXA. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  34. ^ "KOUNOTORI6 Hatch Opening and Crew Ingress". 14 December 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  35. ^ "Transfer of the Exposed Pallet (EP) begins". 14 December 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  36. ^ "ISS Daily Summary Report – 12/14/2016". NASA. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  37. ^ "ISS Daily Summary Report – 1/23/2017". ISS On-Orbit Status Report. NASA. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  38. ^ a b "KOUNOTORI6 was unberthed from the nadir port of Harmony (Node 2) by the SSRMS". JAXA. 27 January 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  39. ^ "KOUNOTORI6 Leaves the ISS". JAXA. 28 January 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  40. ^ "On-orbit demonstration of electrodynamic tether on the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)(Kounotori Integrated Tether Experiments (KITE))". JAXA. Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  41. ^ "Japanese tether experiment hits snag". spaceflightinsider. 31 January 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  42. ^ "KOUNOTORI6 performed its first de-orbit maneuvers for reentry". JAXA. 5 February 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2017. 
  43. ^ "KOUNOTORI6 performed its second de-orbit maneuver for reentry". JAXA. 5 February 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2017. 
  44. ^ "KOUNOTORI6 performed its third de-orbit maneuver for reentry". JAXA. 5 February 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2017. 

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