Two Astronauts Capture Japanese “White Stork”

HTV-6 in the Grip of the Canadarm2
Japan’s HTV-6 cargo craft is pictured in the grip of the Canadarm2 shortly after it was captured Tuesday morning. Credit: NASA TV

Using the International Space Station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) successfully captured the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kounotori H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-6). At the time of capture, the space station and cargo spacecraft were flying 250 miles over southern Chile. Robotic ground controllers now will install it on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module.

NASA TV coverage of the berthing currently is scheduled to begin about 7:45 a.m. at

The Japanese cargo ship, whose name means “white stork,” is delivering more than 4.5 tons of supplies, water, spare parts and experiment hardware for the six-person station crew.

The re-supply vehicle is delivering six new lithium-ion batteries and adapter plates that will replace the nickel-hydrogen batteries currently used on the station to store electrical energy generated by the station’s solar arrays. These will be installed during a series of robotic operations and spacewalks between late December and mid-January.

The spacecraft also is bringing the Technology Education (TechEdSat-5) nanosatellite, which includes the Exo-Brake technology demonstration mission. The Exo-Brake technology is a tension-based, flexible braking device that could help bring small payloads back through Earth’s atmosphere unharmed, accurately de-orbiting through a series of adjustments to modulate drag. Exo-Brake deployment is targeted for early 2017.

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