Launch of Japanese Cargo Ship Rescheduled for Wednesday

Canadarm2, the ISS’s robotic arm, grapples and berths unpiloted resupply ships, a manoeuvre known as a “cosmic catch.” (Credit: NASA)

TOKYO (MHI PR) — Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has revised the launch schedule of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 8 (H-IIB F8) which carries aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI8” (HTV8), the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS) from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center.

Launch Date: Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 at 1:05 am JST (Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 1605 UTC/12:05 pm EDT)*1
Launch Window: Sept. 26 through Oct. 31, 2019

The changes will be made based on the results of the latest orbit based analysis (※ 1) of the International Space Station and Soyuz spacecraft. It was revealed there’s a possibility that the 2nd stage of H-IIB rocket after separation from “KOUNOTORI8” may approach the Soyuz spacecraft.

MHI canceled the launch of the H-IIB F8 on September 11 due to a fire at the movable launch pad exit hole during the countdown operation.

As a result of the investigation, it was confirmed that there was a high possibility that the fire spread due to the static electricity generated by the oxygen dripping from the engine exhaust port during the propellant filling operation, which continued to blow on the heat-resistant material in the exit hole at the movable launch pad.

We have taken corrective measures and have confirmed normal functioning of the rocket and facility.

*1: Collision Avoidance Analysis to prevent collision between the rocket and debris from the rocket and manned space systems (Space Station, etc.) in orbit after launching the rocket. The launch was previously rescheduled for September 24, 2019.

The launch time is subject to change as the ISS orbit is updated.

Launch time and date during this period are pending, determined by the ISS operations and other status.