Kounotori 7

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Kounotori 7
HTV-7 grappled by the International Space Station's robotic arm (1).jpg
Mission typeISS resupply
COSPAR ID2018-073A
SATCAT no.43630Edit this on Wikidata
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftKounotori 7
Spacecraft typeHTV
Launch mass16,500 kg (36,400 lb)
Payload mass6,200 kg (13,700 lb)
Dimensions9.8 m (32 ft) long x 4.4 m (14 ft) diameter
Start of mission
Launch date22 September 2018, 17:52:27
Launch siteLA-Y, Tanegashima
End of mission
Decay date10 November 2018
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Berthing at ISS
Berthing portHarmony nadir
RMS capture27 September 2018
Berthing date27 September 2018, 12:00
Unberthing date6 November 2018, 23:32
RMS release7 November 2018, 16:50

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]

Along with resupplying the ISS, this Kounotori flight tested 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 nitrogen cold gas reaction control system with 3D printed nozzles,[5] and will autonomously perform attitude control to mitigate shock during descent.[4][6] 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.[7] The capsule can contain a total of 20 kg of material (5 kg if the payload requires refrigeration).[4] The capsule has a diameter of 84 cm, a height of 66 cm, and a mass of less than 180 kg.[8] Tiger Corporation developed the capsule's double vacuum insulated container by applying technology used in vacuum flasks.[9] Some samples produced in the microgravity environment of the ISS deteriorate easily, thus a quick return to the surface is desired.[6] For this demonstration flight, samples including ISS-manufactured protein crystals are planned to be placed inside.[7][9]

On 22 October 2015, a high-altitude drop test of the capsule was successfully conducted off the coast of Taiki, Hokkaido.[10] A second test was conducted in 21 September 2016, with conditions and parameters closer to the actual capsule than the previous year's test.[11] The third and fourth drop tests were done in July and November 2017, respectively.[12]


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.[13]

Cargo in the pressurized compartment (PLC) include:[13]

  • NASA EXPRESS Rack 9B and 10B
  • NASA Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG)
  • ESA Life Support Rack (LSR)
  • JAXA HTV Small Re-entry Capsule (HSRC), and a specifically designed hatch of the pressurized compartment to mount the HSRC on departure from ISS.[14][15]
  • JAXA experiment Loop Heat Pipe Radiator (LHPR)
  • CubeSats to be deployed into orbit from ISS: SPATIUM-I, RSP-00, STARS-Me

In the Unpressurized Logistic Carrier (ULC), Kounotori 7 carries 6 lithium-ion batteries Orbital Replacement Units (ORUs) 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.[15]


Launch and rendezvous with ISS[edit]

Initially Kounotori 7 was scheduled to launch at 22:32 UTC on 10 September 2018,[16] but was postponed due to bad weather forecast at a ground tracking station.[17] It was rescheduled to 13 September, 21:20 UTC,[18] but adverse weather forecast at the launch site pushed one day further to 14 September, 20:59:14 UTC.[19][20] 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.[21] After the problem was resolved, the launch was rescheduled to 21 September, ~18:15 UTC.[22] Bad weather forecast pushed it one day to ~17:52 UTC, 22 September 2018.[23]

The H-IIB launch vehicle carrying Kounotori 7 launched at 17:52:27 UTC on 22 September 2018. It arrived at the proximity of International Space Station on 27 September 2018, and the station's Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) grappled it at 11:36 UTC.[24]

Operation while berthed to ISS[edit]

Exposed Pallet (EP), which carries the replacement batteries for ISS, was extracted from Kounotori's Unpressurized Logistics Carrier (ULC) by the SSRMS and transferred to the Mobile Base System (MBS) Payload/Orbital Replacement Unit Accommodations (POA) on 28 September 2018.[25]

Due to the launch failure of Soyuz MS-10, planned extravehicular activity to replace the batteries of ISS could not be performed while the Kounotori 7 was berthed to ISS. The Exposed Pallet will remain at the ISS after departure of Kounotori 7.

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

Kounotori 7 was demated from Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) of Harmony module by SSRMS at 23:32 UTC on 6 November 2018,[26] and it was released into orbit on 7 November 2018, 16:50 UTC.[27] After a series of trajectory control manoeuvres, the final deorbit burn completed at 21:14 UTC, 10 November 2018.[28]

Separation of HTV Small Re-entry Capsule (HSRC) from Kounotori 7 was confirmed at 21:24 UTC. Estimated time of the reentry to Earth atmosphere (at 120 km altitude) of Kounotori 7 was 21:38 UTC, and the splashdown of residual debris at 21:48 - 22:12 UTC.[29]

Splashdown of HSRC was confirmed at 22:06 UTC, and it was retrieved by the recovery ship at 02:25, 11 November. The ship arrived at Minami-Tori-Shima on 19:50, 12 November. The retrieved specimen was transported by aircraft to Ibaraki Airport, and finally arrived at Tsukuba Space Center on 13 November, 00:42 UTC.[30]


  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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. 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. ^ "コイワイ、ISS・実験回収機向けノズル開発 JAXAと連携". Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (in Japanese). November 11, 2016. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Clark, Stephen (22 September 2018). "New sample return capability launches with Japanese space station freighter". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ a b "HTV7 Payload". JAXA. 5 September 2018.
  16. ^ "Launch Schedule of the H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI7 aboard the H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 13 July 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Launch Postponed H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI7 aboard the H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 9 September 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Updated Launch Date, H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI7 aboard H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 11 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  19. ^ "Launch Postponed, H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI7 aboard H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  20. ^ "Launch Time of the H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI7 aboard the H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 13 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  21. ^ "Today's Launch Cancellation, H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI7" aboard the H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 15 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ "Launch Postponed, H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI7" aboard the H-IIB Vehicle No. 7". JAXA. 20 September 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  24. ^ "SSRMS captures KOUNOTORI7". JAXA. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  25. ^ Keeter, Bill (1 October 2018). "ISS Daily Summary Report – 10/01/2018". NASA. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  26. ^ "KOUNOTORI7 was unberthed from the nadir port of Harmony (Node 2) by the SSRMS". JAXA. 7 November 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  27. ^ "KOUNOTORI7 Leaves the ISS". JAXA. 8 November 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  28. ^ "KOUNOTORI7 finished final de-orbit maneuver for reentry". JAXA. 11 November 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  29. ^ "Successful re-entry of H-II Transfer Vehicle "Kounotori7" (HTV7)". 11 November 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  30. ^ トピックス(2018年) (in Japanese). JAXA. 13 November 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2018.

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