Encyclopedia Astronautica

Japanese unmanned spacecraft designed for launch by the H-IIB launch vehicle for International Space Station resupply. The HTV carried International Standard Payload Racks, and was docked using the ISS robot arm after rendezvous with the station. First launched 2009.09.10.

The HTV did not dock itself with the station. Instead it made rendezvous with the station, after which the station's Canadian robotic arm grappled it and moved it to one of the Space Station's docking ports.

The September 1988 Space Station Intergovernmental Agreement allowed ESA and NASDA to use the Ariane-5, H-2A or other indigenous launchers for resupplying their Station modules. NASA promised to provide all the necessary rendezvous and docking information to designers in Europe and Japan. Each partner would pay the full cost of maintaining its own hardware elements on the Station and they would also have to reimburse NASA for using Space Shuttle and Tracking and Data Relay Satellite services. The Japanese HTV could transport about 7t of pressurized, unmanned cargo to the Space Station.

The $203 million Progress/ATV type 'H-2 Transfer Vehicle' was originally scheduled for a 2001 test launch. The Japanese were to have launch two 15-metric ton HTV vehicles per year as their contribution to ISS operations. Pre-Phase B studies were started in 1995. The HTV would require the development of a new twin-core version of the H-2A launcher. Each HTV could carry 7,000kg of pressurized supplies (8 International Standard Payload Racks) but no propellant. Japanese government officials were now increasingly worried about the Japanese Experiment Module's future operating cost. Japan would be expected to contribute $410-450 million per year -- half of it for ISS operations (NASDA's share was 12.8%) and the rest for ancillary infrastructure costs. The total budget could amount to almost a third of NASDA's total budget by 2005.

Article by Marcus Lindroos

Update as of January 2005: The selected contractor, MHI Mitsubishi Japan reported that the net payload was down to 6 metric tons and that

The HTV was the transfer vehicle to deliver daily goods such as water, food and clothing and experimental equipment to JEM (Japanese Experiment Module) and other countries' stations after the completion of the assembly of the International Space Station.

This vehicle was unmanned, launched by H-IIA, and approaches the station automatically, and was maintained and moored by the station facility. After the completion of its work, it would self-destruct itself and disappear when it re-enters the atmosphere.

AKA: H-2 Transfer Vehicle; HTV.
Gross mass: 15,000 kg (33,000 lb).
Payload: 6,000 kg (13,200 lb).
Height: 9.20 m (30.10 ft).
Diameter: 4.40 m (14.40 ft).
First Launch: 2009.09.10.
Last Launch: 2011.01.22.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • US Space Stations Wernher von Braun brought Noordung's rotating station design with him from Europe. This he popularized in the early 1950's in selling manned space flight to the American public. By the late 1950's von Braun's team favoured the spent-stage concept - which eventually flew as Skylab. By the mid-1960's, NASA was concentrating on modular, purpose-built, zero-G stations. These eventually flew as the International Space Station. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • H-2 Heavy lift Japanese indigenous launch vehicle. The original H-2 version was cancelled due to high costs and poor reliability and replaced by the substantially redesigned H-2A. More...
  • H-2A Japanese orbital launch vehicle. Low-cost version of H-2 developed for the commercial market. The two SRB-A solid rocket boosters can be supplemented by 4 smaller SSB solid boosters. 0 or 2 SSB's can be fitted for reduced 9,940 kg or 10,740 kg LEO payloads. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASDA Japanese agency overseeing development of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. National Space Development Agency, Japan. More...

HTV Chronology

2009 September 10 - . 17:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Tanegashima. Launch Complex: Tanegashima Y2. LV Family: H-2. Launch Vehicle: H-IIB.
  • HTV-1 - . Mass: 16,000 kg (35,000 lb). Nation: Japan. Agency: JAXA. Program: ISS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: ISS EO-20; ISS EO-19. Spacecraft: HTV. Decay Date: 2009-09-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 35817 . COSPAR: 2009-048A. Apogee: 342 km (212 mi). Perigee: 334 km (207 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 91.30 min. First launch of the H-IIB booster and the HTV International Space Station resupply spacecraft. HTV-1 rendezvoused with the ISS on 17 September, stationkeeping 10 m away. It was grappled by the station's Canadarm and berthed to the Harmony port of the station and then unloaded.

2011 January 22 - . 05:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Tanegashima. Launch Complex: Tanegashima Y2. LV Family: H-2. Launch Vehicle: H-IIB.
  • HTV 2 - . Payload: Kounotori 2. Mass: 16,000 kg (35,000 lb). Nation: Japan. Program: ISS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: ISS EO-26; ISS EO-25. Spacecraft: HTV. Duration: 67.00 days. Decay Date: 2011-03-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 37351 . COSPAR: 2011-003A. Apogee: 355 km (220 mi). Perigee: 350 km (210 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 91.60 min. Second Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle, delivering equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. Detached from the station by the station's robot arm and released into space on 28 March at 15:46 GMT. Following retrofire burned up over the Pacific Ocean on 30 March at 03:09 GMT on 30 March.

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