The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.
China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.
JAXA has successfully recovered a capsule with experiments aboard from the International Space Station (ISS) for the first time.
The HTV Small Re-entry Capsule (HSRC) splashed down in the ocean under a parachute near the island of Minamitorishima. The experimental capsule separated from the HTV-7 (Kounotori) resupply ship after the latter separated from ISS. Kounotori burned up in Earth’s atmosphere as planned.
“Towards the goal to acquire Japan’s first cargo recovery capacity from the ISS, the Small Re-entry Capsule will be demonstrating its guided lift flight capabilities that will enable the capsule to descent under reduced G-forces, as well as its heat protection capability of the ablator while its re-entry into the atmosphere,” JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa said in a press release. “We expect that these efforts will lead to securing flexibility in our future space flight activities.”
HRSC provides another way to return experiments from the space station. SpaceX’s Dragon resupply ship is currently the only dedicated cargo vehicle that can return research. Russia’s crewed Soyuz vehicle has limited space available for experiments when there are three astronauts aboard.
HTV-7 carried approximately 6.2 metric tons of cargo to the space station. Supplies included new ISS batteries using Japanese Lithium-Ion batteries, large experiment racks provided by NASA and ESA, three CubeSats and fresh food.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — As the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency‘s H-IIB rocket carries NASA’s Life Sciences Glovebox toward its berth on the International Space Station, hardware specialists at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and their partners around the world are eager to initiate new, high-value biological research in Earth orbit.
The JAXA H-IIB rocket, hauling the state-of-the-art microgravity research facility and other cargo via the H-II Transport Vehicle-7 (HTV-7), successfully lifted off at 1:52 p.m. EDT on Sept. 22 from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.
TANEGASHIMA SPACE CENTER, Japan (JAXA PR) — At 2:52:27 a.m., September 23, 2018, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 7 (H-IIB F7) which carries aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI7” (HTV7), the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS), from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center.
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have cancelled launch of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 7(H-IIB F7) with aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI7” (HTV7), the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS).
The cancellation is because additional investigation became necessary of the H-IIB F7 propulsion system. The launch was scheduled for September 15, 2018, from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center.
Launch schedule updates will be informed when determined.
TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Due to an unfavorable weather forecast for the launch day, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have postponed the launch of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 7 (H-IIB F7) which carries aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI7” (HTV7), the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS) from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center. The launch was rescheduled for September 14, 2018. Below is the updated schedule.
MHI and JAXA will consider the weather forecast for the coming days and determine if the updated launch date is available.
Launch Date: September 15, 2018 Launch Time: around 6:00 a.m. (Japan Standard Time, JST) *1
Reserved Launch Period: September 16 through October 31, 2018 *2
*1: Launch time is determined by the latest update of the ISS operations. *2: Launch time and date during this period are pending, to be determined by the ISS operations and other status.