Success: Robotic Japanese spaceship docks with space station (+video)
A robotic Japanese spacecraft carrying food, equipment, and student science experiments for the International Space Station successfully docked with the orbital outpost.
The third in a series of robotic Japanese spaceships has safely arrived at the International Space Station today (July 27), bearing a delivery of food, equipment and student science experiments for the orbital outpost.
The unmanned, school bus-size H-2 Transfer Vehicle-3 (HTV-3), also called Kounotori 3 ("White Stork" in Japanese), flew to about 40 feet (12 meters) away from the ISS, where it was grabbed at 8:23 a.m. ET (1223 GMT) by the space station's 58-foot long (18 m) robotic arm, which was controlled from inside by astronauts Joe Acaba of NASA and Aki Hoshide of JAXA (the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency).
Using the Canadarm2 robotic arm, Acaba and Hoshide maneuvered Kounotori 3 to the Earth-facing docking port on the space station's Harmony node at 10:34 a.m. ET (1434 GMT).
"You guys were great, thanks a lot for helping us out," Acaba replied. "Thanks a lot for all the food."
Today's arrival follows the failed docking attempt on Monday (July 23) of an unmanned Russian Progress spacecraft. The Progress 47 craft was testing a new rendezvous system, which apparently failed to work as planned. The vehicle, which had already been at the space station, had undocked in order to test the new system in a re-docking. Russia plans to try again on Sunday (July 29) to dock the Progress 47.