H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) is an unmanned cargo transfer
spacecraft that delivers supplies to the International Space Station and the
Kibo Japanese Experiment Module. It also called Kounotori ('Oriental Stork' or
The H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) vehicle is part of the
Japanese Space Program. It
was designed and developed under the supervision of the Japanese Aerospace
Exploration Agency (JAXA).
It is launched from the Tanegashima Space Center aboard an H-IIB launch vehicle
to the International Space Station.
The HTV approaches the space station automatically and the Canadarm2 (Space
Station Remote Manipulator System - SSRMS) grapples the HTV and berths it to the
ISS. After unloading the supplies, such as food, clothes and a variety of
experiment equipment, the HTV then is loaded with waste materials, including
used experiment equipment or used clothes. The HTV then undocks and separates
from the ISS, de-orbits and is destroyed during re-entry. The debris falls into
the Pacific Ocean.
The H-II Transfer Vehicle is composed of a pressurized and an un-pressurized
compartment. While the HTV is berthed to the ISS, the ISS crew will be able to
enter and remove the supplies from the HTV Pressurized Logistics Carrier.
Internally, it has eight International Standard Payload Racks (ISPRs) in total
which can be unloaded by the crew in a shirt-sleeve environment.
The HTV has an external payload bay which is accessed by robotic arm after it
has been berthed to the ISS. New payloads can be moved directly from the H-II
Transfer Vehicle to Kibo's exposed facility.
Height: 10m (including maneuvering thrusters at one end)
Mass at Launch: 16,500 kg
Total Mass: 10,500 kg
Payload : 6,000 kb (13,000 lb)
Crew: no crew
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started
working on the design since the early 1990s.
HTV-1 was the first mission. It was originally intended to be launched in
2001. It was launched at 17:01 UTC on 10 September 2009 on an H-IIB launch
vehicle. The first flight of HTV delivered 4.5 tonnes approx. of new supplies to
the International Space Station and demonstrated the HTV's rendezvous and flight
HTV-2 (Kounotori 2) was the second Japanese H-II Transfer
Vehicle and was launched in January 2011.
(Kountori3) was Japan's third H-II Transfer Vehicle. It was
launched on a H-IIB Launch vehicle at 11:06 a.m. Saturday, Japan
time (at 10:06 p.m. EDT Friday) on July 21, 2012 from the Tanegashima Space Center, Japan.
(Kountori4) is Japan's fourth H-II Transfer Vehicle and will be
launched on a H-IIB Launch vehicle in 2013 from the Tanegashima Space Center, Japan.
Launch Date / Time
10 September 2009, 17:01 (UTC)
1 November 2009, 21:26 (UTC).
22 January 2011, 05:37:57 (UTC)
30 March 2011, 03:09 (UTC)
21 July 2012
Creating the International Space Station by David M.
Harland, John E. Catchpole
in the Space
International Space Station Poster
Inside the Space
Station (2000) from Amazon.com
NASA: Space Shuttle - Training,
Facilities, Space Station from
In 2010, JAXA was planning to add a return capsule option. HTV's Pressurized
Cargo is replaced by a re-entry module capable of returning 1.6 tonne cargo from
ISS to Earth. It is expected to be launched by 2017.
* The H-IIB rocket is more powerful version of the H-IIA and is launched from at
the Tanegashima Space Center, Japan.
* After the retirement of
NASA's Space Shuttle in 2011, HTVs is the only vehicle that can carry ISPRs to
* Other Unmanned Space
Vehicles that bring supplies to the International Space Station and they
include: Russian Progress spacecraft, European ATV, commercial Dragon and
commercial Cygnus spacecraft (planned). The HTV carries more than twice the
payload of the Progress spacecraft.
H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)
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