Kounotori 9

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Kounotori 9
ISS-63 HTV-9 cargo ship in the grips of the Canadarm2.jpg
Mission typeISS resupply
COSPAR ID2020-030A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.45607
Mission duration92 days
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftKounotori 9
Spacecraft typeH-II Transfer Vehicle
ManufacturerMitsubishi Heavy Industries
Launch mass16500 kg[1]
Payload mass6200 kg
Dimensions9.8 meters in length,
4.4 metres in diameter
Start of mission
Launch date20 May 2020, 17:31:00 UTC[2]
RocketH-IIB F9 (last)
Launch siteTanegashima, LA-Y2
ContractorMitsubishi Heavy Industries
End of mission
Decay date20 August 2020, 07:07 UTC
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Epoch20 May 2020
Berthing at International Space Station
Berthing portHarmony nadir
RMS capture25 May 2020, 12:13 UTC[3]
Berthing date25 May 2020, 14:46 UTC[3]
Unberthing date18 August 2020, 13:51 UTC
RMS release18 August 2020, 17:36 UTC
Time berthed85 days, 2 hours, 50 minutes
Mass6200 kg
Pressurised4300 kg
Unpressurised1900 kg

Kounotori 9 (こうのとり9号機), also known as HTV-9 was the 9th flight of the H-II Transfer Vehicle, a robotic cargo spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station (ISS).[4][5] It was launched on 20 May 2020, at 17:31:00 UTC.[6]

Kounotori 9 is the last HTV of the original model, with following missions replaced with the HTV-X.[4][7]


Major difference from the previous Kounotori are:[8]

  • Camera assembly unit and Wireless LAN communication unit (WLD), described below.

Wireless LAN Demonstration[edit]

Wireless LAN Demonstration, or WLD (pronounced wild)[8] is an experiment that will be performed during Kounotori 9's flight. During the test, a video taken by Kounotori 9 will be broadcast in real time on board the space station, via a wireless LAN (WLAN) datalink.[9] The experiment will be conducting during Kounotori 9's approach, departure, and while berthed to the ISS.[10] For WLD, the spacecraft has a camera attached to its propulsion module, while a data processor and WLAN antenna is located at the Unpressurized Logistics Carrier's aperture.[8] The technology to be tested by WLD will enable ISS crews to monitor approaching vehicles during an autonomous docking.[11] According to JAXA, if successful this will be the first time for two spacecraft to communicate using WLAN during a rendezvous.[8]


Kounotori 9 carried about 6200 kg of cargo mass, consisting of 4300 kg in the pressurized compartment and 1900 kg in the unpressurized compartment.[8] In addition to food items and crew commodities, the pressurized compartment (Pressurized Logistics Carrier; PLC)'s cargo consists of:[8]

  • JAXA cargo:
    • Solid Combustion Experiment Module (SCEM)
    • Integrated Standard Imager for Microsatellites (iSIM), a commercial technology demonstration payload by Satlantis
    • Equipment for the space media business collaboration (Space Frontier Studio KIBO)
    • Confocal Space Microscopy (COSMIC)
  • NASA cargo:

Cargo in the unpressurized compartment (Unpressurized Logistics Carrier, ULC) was the Exposed Pallet (EP9) which carries the six lithium-ion batteries Orbital Replacement Units (ORUs) for replacing the ISS's existing nickel-hydrogen batteries. This was the last of the series of transportation of replacement batteries, following the previous Kounotori 6, Kounotori 7, and Kounotori 8.

On departure from ISS, Kounotori 9 was loaded with the Exposed Pallet of Kounotori 8 (EP8) carrying the replaced nickel-hydrogen batteries. It was left on ISS due to the missed extravehicular activity during the Kounotori 7 mission for the launch failure of Soyuz MS-10 in 2018. The Exposed Pallet of Kounotori 9 (EP9) was left on ISS, and subsequently, it was disposed of by jettisoning into orbit on 11 March 2021 using Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS), carrying old nickel-hydrogen batteries.[1][12]



Kounotori 9 in proximity of ISS to be captured by the SSRMS

Kounotori 9 was launched aboard the ninth and final launch of H-IIB rocket on 20 May 2020, at 17:31:00 UTC.[2] The launch took place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, so that the usual launch viewing places were closed to spectators, and the local town offices requested not to visit for launch observation.[13]

After the successful launch, the Kounotori 9 arrived to the proximity of the International Space Station on 25 May 2020, and it was captured by SSRMS at 12:13 UTC.[14] It was mated to the Harmony's Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM). Berthing operation completed at 18:25 UTC.[15]

Operation while berthed to ISS[edit]

ISS crew opened the hatch of the Kounotori's PLC, and entered at 19:24 UTC.[16] Cargo transfer of the pressurized cargo by the crew began on 26 May 2020.[17]

Exposed Pallet (EP9), which carries lithium-ion batteries, was extracted from the ULC by the ground-operated SSRMS on 1 June 2020.[18] Then, Kounotori 8's Exposed Pallet (EP8), carrying old nickel-hydrogen batteries, was stowed into the ULC on 02:48 UTC, 2 June 2020.[19]

Departure and reentry to the Earth atmosphere[edit]

On 18 August 2020, Kounotori 9 was detached from Harmony's CBM by the SSRMS, and it was released into orbit at 17:36 UTC. It was disposed by the destructive reentry to the Earth atmosphere at around 07:07 UTC, on 20 August 2020.


  1. ^ a b 宇宙ステーション補給機「こうのとり」9号機(HTV9)に係る安全対策について(調査審議結果) (PDF) (in Japanese). Working Group on Space Development and Utilization, MEXT. 19 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Launch Result of the H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI9 aboard the H-IIB Vehicle No. 9". Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. 21 May 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Expedition 63". Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b Krebs, Gunter Dirk (11 July 2016). "HTV 1, ..., 9 (Kounotori 1, ..., 9)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  5. ^ "HTV-Kounotori sets sail for the ISS". NASASpaceFlight.com. 18 August 2015. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Nasa launch announcement". NASA. 12 May 2020. Retrieved 21 May 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. ^ Krebs, Gunter Dirk (11 July 2016). "HTV-X 1, 2, 3". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e f 宇宙ステーション補給機「こうのとり」9号機(HTV9)ミッションプレスキット (PDF) (in Japanese). JAXA. 14 May 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  9. ^ "HTV9 Mission Timeline". JAXA. 1 May 2020. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  10. ^ "2020年(令和2年)5月理事長定例記者会見" (in Japanese). JAXA. 15 May 2020. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  11. ^ "ISS Daily Summary Report – 5/12/2020". NASA. 12 May 2020. Retrieved 21 May 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  12. ^ "ISS Daily Summary Report – 3/11/2021". NASA. 11 March 2021. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  13. ^ 打ち上げ準備もコロナ警戒 見学自粛呼び掛け―種子島 (in Japanese). Jiji Press. 21 May 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  14. ^ 「こうのとり」9号機がSSRMSに把持されました (in Japanese). JAXA. 25 May 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  15. ^ "Successful berthing of the H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI9" (HTV9) to the International Space Station (ISS)". JAXA. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  16. ^ 「こうのとり」9号機にクルーが入室 (in Japanese). JAXA. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  17. ^ Keeter, Bill (26 May 2020). "ISS Daily Summary Report – 5/26/2020". NASA. Retrieved 6 June 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  18. ^ 曝露パレット引出し開始 (in Japanese). JAXA. 1 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  19. ^ 曝露パレットの収納完了 (in Japanese). JAXA. 2 June 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2020.

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