After a week of preparation (detailed below), the HTV 6 Japanese cargo ship was released from the space station headed to a location over the Pacific ocean to safely burn up with 4.5 tons of trash on February 5th, 2017.
Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA commanded the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to release a Japanese cargo vehicle at 10:46 a.m. EST. At the time of release, the station was flying 261 statute miles above the south Atlantic Ocean. Earlier, ground controllers used the robotic arm to unberth the cargo craft.
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) H-II Transport Vehicle-6 (HTV-6) arrived to the space station December 13th, after launching from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan December 9th.
The cargo ship will now move to a safe distance below and in front of the station for about a week’s worth of data gathering with a JAXA experiment designed to measure electromagnetic forces using a tether in low-Earth orbit. JAXA is scheduled to deorbit the craft on Feb. 5. Loaded with trash, the vehicle will burn up harmlessly over the Pacific Ocean.
Earlier, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA commanded the 57.7-foot-long robotic arm to release Kounotori back into orbit. After the HTV supports science experiments for a week, Japanese flight controllers will command the craft to deorbit on Feb. 5 for a fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.
The Japanese HTV 6 resupply ship was packed and made ready for its release Friday from the International Space Station. European astronaut Thomas Pesquet will command the Canadarm2 to release the HTV-6 at 10:30 a.m. EST. Afterward, it will enter Earth’s atmosphere for a fiery disposal over the Pacific Ocean. NASA TV will broadcast the release and departure activities live beginning at 10 a.m.
More eye exams were on the Expedition 50 crew’s timeline today to ensure the astronauts maintain good vision and help researchers understand the effects of microgravity on eyesight. The space residents used typical optometry instruments to look at the retina and the interior back of the eye.
The crew also worked on maintenance tasks throughout the orbital laboratory. Gear used to analyze particles in the space station’s atmosphere was replaced after a failure was detected in a spectrometer device. Water samples were also collected from the station’s life support systems for quality checks and analysis on the ground. The next SpaceX Dragon mission is due to return these samples and other cargo back to Earth after a launch date is announced.
For more information about the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station.
Written By: Mark Garcia NASA
UNIVERSAL DIGEST is pleased to be a conduit for some of NASA’s projects and work. This article and some others were written by NASA and are mostly unedited. We do not claim credit, we simply want to make them more available to the general public.
Please note: When multiple articles are published regarding singular/similar events during a specific time period, Universal Digest will combine detail into one article. This is still mostly unedited material written by the same author.