Kounotori 7

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Kounotori 7
Mission type ISS resupply
Operator JAXA
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft Kounotori 7
Spacecraft type HTV
Manufacturer MHI
Launch mass 16,500 kg (36,400 lb)
Payload mass 6,200 kg (13,700 lb)
Dimensions 9.8 m (32 ft) long x 4.4 m (14 ft) diameter
Start of mission
Launch date 22 September 2018
Rocket H-IIB
Launch site LA-Y, Tanegashima
Contractor MHI
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Berthing at ISS
Berthing port Harmony nadir or Unity nadir
RMS capture Planned: September 2018
Berthing date Planned: September 2018
HTV ISS Resupply

Kounotori 7 (こうのとり7号機), also known as HTV-7 is the seventh flight of the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), an unmanned cargo spacecraft launched on 22 September 2018 to resupply the International Space Station.[1]

Spacecraft specification[edit]

Major changes from previous Kounotori include:[2]

  • Inclusion of HTV Small Re-entry Capsule (HSRC), described below.
  • Reduction of primary batteries to five units, down from six of Kounotori 6, seven of Kounotori 2 through Kounotori 5.
  • Replacement of Hardware Control Panel (HCP) by Portable Computer System (PCS). HCP was a dedicated control command box which allowed ISS crew to send control commands to Kounotori. For Kounotori 7, this is to be replaced by a portable (laptop) computer.

To enable HSRC retrieval, the destructive re-entry of Kounotori 7 and the splashdown of HSRC is planned to take place in the northwestern Pacific ocean near Minami-Tori-shima (Marcus Island), east of Bonin Islands and Northern Mariana Islands, instead of the southern Pacific ocean used by the previous missions.[2]

Reentry capsule[edit]

This Kounotori flight is planned to test the HTV Small Re-entry Capsule (HSRC), a reentry capsule similar in function to the VBK-Raduga carried onboard Progress flights to the Mir space station. Essentially a miniaturized HTV-R capsule, it will be carried in the pressurized section of the vehicle.[3] After departing from the station, ground control will remotely command Kounotori to release the capsule at an altitude of 300 km (190 mi).[4] The capsule incorporates 3D printed nozzles, and will autonomously perform attitude control to mitigate shock during descent.[4][5] Splash-landing off the coast of the Ogasawara Islands, the capsule will be retrieved by ship.[4] It will then be airlifted to Ibaraki Airport via Minami-Tori-shima, from where the samples will be delivered to researchers.[6] The capsule can contain a total of 20 kg of material (5 kg if the payload requires refrigeration).[4] Tiger Corporation developed the capsule's double vacuum insulated container by applying technology used in vacuum flasks.[7] Some samples produced in the microgravity environment of the ISS deteriorate easily, thus a quick return to the surface is desired.[5] For this demonstration flight, samples including ISS-manufactured protein crystals are planned to be placed inside.[6][7]

On 22 October 2015, a high-altitude drop test of the capsule was successfully conducted off the coast of Taiki, Hokkaido.[8] A second test was conducted in 21 September 2016, with conditions and parameters closer to the actual capsule than the previous year's test.[9] The third and fourth drop tests were done in July and November 2017, respectively.[10]


Kounotori 7 carries about 6.2 tonnes of cargo, consisting of 4.3 t in the pressurized compartment and 1.9 t in the unpressurized compartment.[11]

Cargo in the pressurized compartment (PLC) include:[11]

  • HTV Small Re-entry Capsule (HSRC), and a specifically designed hatch of the pressurized compartment to mount the HSRC on departure from ISS.[12]
  • NASA EXPRESS Rack 9B and 10B
  • NASA Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG)
  • ESA Life Support Rack (LSR)
  • JAXA experiment Loop Heat Pipe Radiator (LHPR)
  • CubeSats to be deployed into orbit from ISS: SPATIUM-I, RSP-00, STARS-Me

In the unpressurized compartment (ULC), Kounotori 7 carries lithium-ion batteries for replacing the ISS's existing nickel-hydrogen batteries. The transportation of replacement batteries is a continuation from the previous Kounotori 6, and will continue through to Kounotori 9.[13]


Launch and rendezvous with ISS[edit]

Initially Kounotori 7 was scheduled to launch at 22:32 UTC on 10 September 2018,[14] but was postponed due to bad weather forecast at a ground tracking station.[15] It was rescheduled to 13 September, 21:20 UTC,[16] but adverse weather forecast at the launch site pushed one day further to 14 September, 20:59:14 UTC.[17][18] During the preflight check, a problem was found in the blowoff valve of the launch vehicle second stage oxygen tank, and the launch was scrubbed.[19] After the problem was resolved, the launch was rescheduled to 21 September, ~18:15 UTC.[20] Bad weather forecast pushed it one day to ~2:52 UTC, 22 September 2018.[21]

H-IIB launch vehicle carrying Kounotori 7 launched at 18:52:27 UTC on 22 September 2018.


  1. ^ "Launch Schedule of the H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI7 aboard the H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 13 July 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2018. 
  2. ^ a b 宇宙ステーション補給機「こうのとり」7号機(HTV7)の概要 (PDF). Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (in Japanese). JAXA. 18 May 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018. 
  3. ^ "契約相手方の選定結果の公示" (PDF) (in Japanese). JAXA. 2014-08-08. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "日本独自の宇宙回収カプセル開発進む ISSの実験試料を迅速に研究者へ 有人船に応用も". Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). March 18, 2018. Retrieved 2018-04-10. 
  5. ^ a b "JAXA、帰還型カプセル運用開始 米スペースXに対抗". The Nikkei (in Japanese). April 7, 2018. Retrieved 2018-04-10. 
  6. ^ a b "宇宙から落下、研究物質回収 JAXA実験へ". Saga Shimbun (in Japanese). July 12, 2017. Retrieved 2018-04-10. 
  7. ^ a b "タイガー魔法瓶、JAXAと大気圏突入容器を開発 内部4℃に保つ". Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (in Japanese). July 19, 2017. Retrieved 2018-04-10. 
  8. ^ "Result of the high-altitude drop test of a simulated small return capsule to establish return technology". JAXA. 10 November 2015. Retrieved 2016-07-19. 
  9. ^ "物資回収技術の獲得に向けた宇宙ステーション補給機「こうとのり(HTV)」搭載型模擬小型回収カプセルの高空落下試験の結果について" (in Japanese). JAXA. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 2017-06-06. 
  10. ^ "High-altitude drop test results of a simulated small re-entry capsule for the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) KOUNOTORI". JAXA. 11 January 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018. 
  11. ^ a b 宇宙ステーション補給機 「こうのとり」7 号機(HTV7) 【ミッションプレスキット】 (PDF) (in Japanese). JAXA. 20 July 2018. Retrieved 25 July 2018. 
  12. ^ 国際宇宙ステーション(ISS)に提供する実験装置(HTV搭載小型回収カプセル(HSRC))に関する安全審査結果について (PDF). Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. JAXA. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018. 
  13. ^ 「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. JAXA (in Japanese). 3 June 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2018. 
  14. ^ "Launch Schedule of the H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI7 aboard the H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 13 July 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018. 
  15. ^ "Launch Postponed H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI7 aboard the H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 9 September 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018. 
  16. ^ "Updated Launch Date, H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI7 aboard H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 11 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018. 
  17. ^ "Launch Postponed, H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI7 aboard H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018. 
  18. ^ "Launch Time of the H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI7 aboard the H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 13 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018. 
  19. ^ "Today's Launch Cancellation, H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI7" aboard the H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 15 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018. 
  20. ^ H-IIBロケット7号機による宇宙ステーション補給機「こうのとり」7号機(HTV7)の打上げ日について (in Japanese). JAXA. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 19 September 2018. 
  21. ^ "Launch Postponed, H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI7" aboard the H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 20 September 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018. 

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