American flight engineer Nicole Stott using Canada’s Canadarm2 on the International Space Station today captured the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV). The Japanese HTV is an unmanned spacecraft used to resupply the Kib Japanese Experiment Module and the rest of the International Space Station (ISS).
The Canadarm2 was launched on STS-100 aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in April 2001 and is part of the Mobile Servicing System (MSS) the Canadian Space Agency provided to the International Space Station (ISS). The next generation Canadarm is a bigger, better, smarter version of the space shuttle’s robotic arm. It is 17.6 meters long when fully extended and has seven motorized joints. This arm is capable of handling large payloads and assisting with docking the space shuttle.
The HTV is an unmanned cargo transporter launched by the Japanese H-IIB launch vehicle. It is designed to deliver up to six tons of supplies to the ISS in orbit at an altitude of about 400 kilometers and return with spent equipment, used clothing, and other waste material. The waste material will be incinerated when the HTV makes a re-entry into the atmosphere. This transport operation involves a rendezvous flight with and docking to the ISS, in a situation requiring a highly reliable transfer vehicle.
Video – Capture of the HTV by the Canadarm2
Video: Launch of JAXA’s New H-2B Rocket with the H-2 Transfer Vehicle