Jan 24, 2011

HTV; you can call this FedEx of the space age!

HTV, or Kounotori(it's a nickname- means white stork in Japanese), is a spacecraft that's used to transport stuff like food and experimental equipment to the International Space Station(ISS). Made in Japan! It's about 33 feet(10 meters) long and carries 5 tons of pressurized(meaning it's in the same environment as the ISS) payload and 1.5 ton of unpressurized payload.

Why I chose  to write about this is because it just launched a few days ago, last Saturday! The geography teacher at my school was pretty exited about it and said he'll connect to the live coverage in his classroom so we can watch the liftoff, but I just watched it at home. At first I was watching the JAXA(Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) homepage's live broadcast , but a few minutes before it launched the server of the site sort of overloaded and I couldn't watch it anymore. So I searched desperately for a internet site that had live coverage, and I ended up with NASA tv. Nobody seemed to be watching this, so I got to enjoy a stress-free launch while most of the Japanese peninsula was suffering from not being able to watch it live(probably.)This was the second time HTV launched, and there was a lot of water on board. If the water and the equipment was loaded unevenly, the center of balance for the rocket would be off-center and the rocket's trajectory could get all wobbly. So the guys at JAXA actually did a computer simulation of how to stow the load and put the stuff in according to it. Really making a lot of effort.Oh, and when it goes back into the Earth's atmosphere, it just burns up and that's it. Kind of sad...

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