Minimize ISS: HTV-5

ISS Services: HTV-5 (H-II Transfer Vehicle-5 / Kounotori-5)

Overview    Launch   Spacecraft   Payload    Mission Status    References

Developed and built in Japan, the HTV-5 (H-II Transfer Vehicle-5) known as "Kounotori (white stork)", is an unmanned cargo transfer spacecraft that delivers supplies to the ISS (International Space Station). Japan, the U.S., and Russia currently operate cargo transfers to the ISS. Among the supply vehicles, Kounotori serves as the backbone of ISS operations with its world-leading supply capacity of approx. 6 metric tons, and is the only space liner capable of delivering large items of hardware. 1)

Given its consistent on-time arrivals ever since the launch of the first technology demonstration mission, Kounotori is widely acknowledged to be a safe and reliable vehicle, for which the world has high expectations regarding its operations.


Launch: HTV-5 of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) nicknamed Kounotori 5), was launched on August 19, 2015 at 11:50:49 UTC from the Tanegashima Launch Center, Japan, on the H-IIB vehicle of MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.). The launch vehicle flew smoothly, and, at about 14 minutes and 54 seconds after liftoff, the separation of the Kounotori-5 was confirmed. 2)

Orbit: Near-circular orbit, altitude of ~400 km to ISS, inclination =51.6°.

JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui, a Flight Engineer for Expedition 44 and 45 aboard the ISS, has been assigned to manipulate the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) for the operation of capturing Kounotori-5. It is the first time for Japanese astronauts to capture a HTV vehicle.

JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata will serve as lead CAPCOM (Capsule Communicator) for the HTV-5 mission at the NASA MCC (Mission Control Center) in Houston, TX.

Secondary CubeSat payloads of the HTV-5 mission cargo. All CubeSats are part of the PLC (Pressurized Logistics Carrier): 3)

- 14 Flock-2b nanosatellites (3U CubeSats) of Planet Labs, San Francisco, to provide high-resolution (3-5 m) imagery of the Earth. Each nanosatellite has a mass of 5 kg.

- GOMX-3, a 3U CubeSat mission (~3 kg) of ESA developed by GomSpace in Aalborg, Denmark. Payload: SDR receiver and an ADS-B receiver to receive signals broadcast by civilian aircraft. The SDR is used to receive signals from communication satellites in GEO for an assessment of signal quality in the L-band range. 4)

- AAUSAT-5, a 3U CubeSat student satellite demonstration of Aalborg University (AAU), Denmark. AAUSAT-5 is to receive AIS (Automatic Identification System) beacons from ships. The beacons are used to identify and locate vessels to support collision avoidance and search and rescue efforts.

- SERPENS (Sistema Espacial para Realização de Pesquisa e Experimentos com Nanossatélites), a 3U CubeSat developed by a consortium of Brazilian Universities for technology demonstrations.

- S-Cube (Shootingstar Sensing Satellite) is a 3U CubeSat (4 kg) of PERC (Planetary Exploration Research Center) at the Chiba Institute of Technology and Tohoku University, Japan. The objective is meteor observation.



Kounotori-5 spacecraft:

HTV-5/Kounotori-5 is the fifth flight of the H-II Transfer Vehicle, an uncrewed cargo spacecraft launched to resupply the International Space Station. The spacecraft was manufactured by MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries). By continuously improving the way of loading of cargo, the HTV's loading capacity has gradually been increased.

• The amount of loadable cargo of Kounotori-5 has been increased up to 242 CTBs (Cargo Transfer Bags) as compared to 208 CTBs during the HTV-1 mission, which is the increase of 34 bags and about 15%. This allows the HTV to accommodate more packages such as water and system parts.

• Kounotori-5 accepts late access cargo. The amount and size of acceptable last-minute cargo are the largest among the ISS resupply vehicles. Late access service, for instance, has the merits for the following cargo items:

- Living experiment samples, space foods that need to keep their freshness.

- Urgent resupply and/or replacement of the contents of cargo due to the sudden failure of parts or hardware on the ISS.

The HTV-5 spacecraft, with a launch mass of 16,500 kg, carries a total cargo mass of 6,057 kg that includes an additional 215 kg of late-load cargo that was added to the manifest after the Falcon-9 failure and shipped to Japan by NASA just in time to meet the launch date.

The pressurized cargo includes potable water (600 liter), food, crew commodities, system components, and science experiment equipments. System components include: UPA Fluids Control and Pump Assembly (FCPA), WFB (WPA Multifiltration Beds), a galley rack to be placed in Unity, and SAFER (Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue). Science experiment equipments include MHU (Mouse Habitat Unit), ELF (Electrostatic Levitation Furnace), MSPR-2 (Multi-Purpose Small Payload Rack-2), ExHAM 2 (Exposed Experiment Handrail Attachment Mechanism), NREP (NanoRacks External Platform), and CubeSats (SERPENS), S-CUBE, fourteen Flock-2b, AAUSAT-5, and GOMX-3).

The unpressurized cargo consists of CALET (Calorimetric Electron Telescope).


KASPER (Kounotori Advanced SPace Environment Research). The JAXA equipment is attached to the surface body öf Kounotori-5. KASPER is important for the safe ISS operations to clarify how the HTV's electric potential changes when it is berthed to the ISS and how it affects the electric potential of the ISS. In addition to the surface potential sensor that was also installed to Kounotori-4, KASPER is equipped with plasma current measurement equipment and two kinds of debris detectors: CDM (Chiba-koudai Debris Monitor) and the SDM (Space Debris Monitor).


Figure 1: Photo of the Kounotori-5 spacecraft which is 10 m long and 4.4 m in diameter (image credit: JAXA)



HTV-5 Payload: Cargo in the PLC (Pressurized Logistics Carrier)

Delivery items of the HTV-5 payload. 5)

MHU (Mouse Habitat Unit)

The Kibo platform is being used for aging studies. Space is the only one environment where accelerated changes of aging such as bone loss, muscle atrophy, and immunological deterioration can be observed. To take advantage of the environment, Kibo is planned to be used as a platform for aging studies.

- A total of 12 MHUs enable the separate observation of 12 mice for approximately 30 days.

- MHU can set two gravity conditions, microgravity and artificial gravity (1G, e.g.) at one time for comparison. Artificial gravity experiment of mammals on the ISS will be the first time in the world.


Figure 2: Photo of the MHU device (image credit: JAXA)

The Japanese Mouse Habitat Experiment in some ways is similar to the U.S.-led Rodent Habitat set up on the Space Station in 2014, however, there are a number of significant differences including the use of artificial gravity and the accommodation of one mouse per cage for individual studies of behavioral changes. The Mouse Habitat Experiment consists of two major segments, the main Onboard Cage Unit for the accommodation of mice for 30 to 180 days and Transportation Cage Unit that accommodates the animals for up to ten days from launch to transfer to ISS and from the end of the ISS-based experiment to the return to Earth aboard a visiting vehicle (Ref. 3).

Flying rodents to ISS provides an extremely valuable opportunity for a variety of studies from the mechanisms of bone loss in space over the adverse effects of space radiation to aging studies as well as a range of other studies looking at changes undergone by cells, tissues and organ systems as a result of prolonged exposure to space.



Figure 3: Concept of the Mouse Habitat Experiment (image credit: JAXA, Ref. 3)


ELF (Electrostatic Levitation Furnace)

The ELF will provide the ISS with its second Materials Science facility operating on the basis of electrostatic levitation, alongside the Electromagnetic Levitator that is active aboard the Columbus laboratory, studying fundamental principles of metallurgy. Heating and melting samples of metal alloys or other materials in a zero-G environment followed by the solidification of the sample yields a very pure material without any contaminations. The study of the solidification process and the finished product can provide valuable knowledge concerning the properties of the material that could improve production techniques on Earth for better material properties in alloys, glass and ceramics.

The primary purpose of the ELF payload is to provide containerless melting and solidification of a variety of samples in a controlled environment to study material properties - providing knowledge needed for the improvement of production techniques for metal alloys, ceramics or different types of glass, among other materials.

• As liquid can stay levitated without the need of the container in microgravity, precise measurement of the thermophysical properties of materials with melting temperatures of over 2,000ºC. is possible.

• The ELF is one of the world's superior devices that can measure the thermophysical properties of high-temperature melts, covering metals to insulators.

• The objective of the ELF is to obtain unexploited thermophysical property data and compile a database and then contribute to the improvement of material processing and development of new functional materials by sophisticating casting and welding simulations.


Figure 4: Schematic of the ELF within the overall configuration (image credit: JAXA)


MSPR-2 (Multi-purpose Small Payload Rack)

The next generation rack that realizes to conduct a variety of experiments:

• The second rack of the Multi-purpose Small Payload Rack already installed to Kibo.

• The MSPR-2 is a rack for multi-purpose uses and provides power and communication interface to each experiment device installed to it.

• ELF will be installed to the upper part of MSPR-2, called the Work Volume (WV).


Figure 5: The image of the MSPR-2 and the ELF installation location (image credit: JAXA)


ExHAM-2 (Exposed Experiment Handrail Attachment Mechanism)

ExHAM-2 is the second accommodation system for small experiment payloads for the JEM-EF (Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility) to provide access to space exposure studies to a variety of experiments without the need for spacewalking Astronauts to install exposure payloads. The system is a cuboid mechanism that hosts a grapple fixture for the JEMRMS (JEM Remote Manipulator System) so that it can be transferred to the outside of ISS via the JEM airlock for robotic installation on a JEM-EF hand rail using a clamping mechanism on the underside of the payload. A total of 20 experiment samples can be facilitated by ExHAM, seven on its upper surface and 13 around the side surfaces of the structure. Each experiment cell measures 10 cm x 10 cm x 2 cm.


Figure 6: Photo of the ExHAM-2 accommodation system (image credit: JAXA)

The objective of ExHAM-2 is to enhance the reliability of materials by conducting the durability demonstration for use in space:

• ExHAM is an experiment device for conducting exposed demonstration and experiments using the Kibo's airlock and robotic arm JEMRMS, without the necessity of performing Extravehicular Activities.

• This device makes it possible to attach and remove experiment samples easily and frequently. Samples can be returned to Earth for analysis for the researchers.

• This unique feature can be used by commercial companies and universities to study and assess the quality and reliability of new materials for use in space.

• Kounotori-5 will deliver experiment samples to be attached to ExHAM and ExHAM-2.


NREP (NanoRacks External Platform)

NREP (NanoRacks External Platform). This facility will be mounted to the JEM-EF . Payloads can be attached and removed from NREP in a plug-and-play fashion for commercial users who wish to send their investigations into the microgravity environment. NREP can hold a variety of powered and non-powered payloads and expose them to the space environment for a specified period of time for data collection before the payloads are returned to the ground for analysis.

NREP represents an external payload facility that can host compact research payloads in the space environment, becoming the first external commercial research capability for the testing of scientific investigations, sensors, and other components in space. NREP can hold a variety of powered and non-powered payloads and expose them to the space environment for a specified period of time for data collection before the payloads are returned to the ground for analysis. 6) 7) 8)


Figure 7: Front view photo of the NREP assembly (image credit: Airbus DS)

Airbus Defence and Space (former Astrium North America Inc.) of Houston, TX, is the designer and manufacturer of the Platform. The NREP (NanoRacks External Platform) will host payloads in the open space environment while attached to the JEM-EF (JEM External Facility). 9) There are a number of applications that the External Payload Platform provides, including: sensor target testing, biological testing, access to station power and data, flight qualification, materials testing, and more. The NREP will allow for high data rates, payload return, risk mitigation, and predictable and frequent service. 10)

The platform itself has its own power distribution system that can deliver power to installed experiments as required and an onboard computer routes commands send on customer request from the ground to the payload and science data from the payload to the ground through ISS communications assets. Payloads can be attached and removed from NREP in a plug-and-play fashion, to be returned to the inside of ISS via the JEM robotic arm and the Kibo airlock for eventual return to the ground.

The NREP allows for various configurations with different standard sizes of payloads. An example is shown in Figure 8. Standard payloads have a width and a height of 10 cm and a length from 1U (10 cm) up to 4 U (40 cm). NREP is able to accommodate up to 9 4U CubeSat-size payloads outside of station with a standard mission duration of 15 weeks. The Platform continues to allow for NanoRacks' end-to-end mission services that are offered across all of The Company's space station opportunities.


Figure 8: Payload configuration example (view from bottom), image credit: Astrium NA


Figure 9: Rear view of NREP configuration (left) and overall configuration of NREP with 9 standard payloads (right), image credit: NanoRacks


WRS (Water Recovery System) Components

HTV-5 is delivering to the ISS some long-awaited spare parts for the USOS (United States On-orbit Segment) Water Systems, specifically a Fluids Control Pump Assembly and Multifiltration Beds for the Water Recovery System. The Fluids Control Pump Assembly is a critical part of the UPA (Urine Processor Assembly) that turns urine into potable water through vacuum distillation. Within the UPA, the 45.6 kg Fluids Control Pump Assembly is in charge of pumping urine to the Distillation Assembly and remove both concentrated urine brine waste and product water from the Distillation Assembly once the distillation process is complete (Ref. 3).

Upon NASA's urgent request, these items were airlifted to Tanegashima island in late July. They are the components of the WRS that generates drinkable water from destillated water of the crew's urine and condensate water collected from the air conditioner.


Figure 10: Photo of the Fluids Control Pump Assembly (image credit: NASA)

The Multifiltration Beds are an important component within the Water Processor Assembly that finishes the water processing chain, recycling crew perspiration and urine into potable water. After the removal of particles and debris from the water through standard sieving, the water passes through the Multi-Filtration Beds, chemical filter systems that are capable of removing organic substances and inorganic impurities.

However, as the filter remains in operation, its substrates will get saturated by the removed substances and the efficiency of the filtration bed will decrease. Periodic water checks using onboard systems such as the Total Organic Carbon Analyzer are performed to keep track of the water quality aboard the Space Station and water samples are regularly sent back to the ground. Strict limits are in place for the TOCA value and the maximum concentrations for known contaminants. Any violation of these criteria would either require a switch of the filtration beds or the crew to stop using recycled water.

Multi-Filtration Beds were up for launch aboard the Cygnus Orb-3 spacecraft in October 2014 but were lost when the Antares launch vehicle exploded seconds after liftoff. Because the manufacture of these units is relatively time-consuming, new spares did not become available until June 2015 and were packed inside the Dragon SpX-7 spacecraft for liftoff atop Falcon 9. By that time, TOCA measurements had shown that the filtration beds presently in use on ISS were saturated and organic levels were on the rise, approaching the safe limit. Unfortunately, Dragon SpX-7 did not reach its destination either, its flight being cut short when the Falcon 9 experienced a fatal problem just two and a half minutes after liftoff.

• Galley Rack: The Galley Rack will be installed to the Unity module (Node1) and located near the dining table of the US Orbital Segment. The Galley Rack is equipped with the potable water dispenser, food warmer, etc.

• SAFER (Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue): The SAFER is a small thruster system for emergencies such as a case when an EVA member gets off the ISS during EVA, he/she can come back to the ISS with it. The SAFER is attached to the bottom of the LSS (Life Support System) on the back of the EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit). As the SAFER is equipped with propellant (N2 gas), it is replaced regularly before the end of the operating life.

• EF-PDB (Exposed Facility Power Distribution Box): EF-PDB is an electric power system and one of the ORUs (Orbital Replacement Units) on the Kibo's EF. It is delivered in preparation for failures.



HTV-5 Payload: Cargo in the ULC (Unpressurized Logistics Carrier)

CALET (CALorimetric Electron Telescope)

CALET is an astrophysics mission of JAXA and Japanese Universities that will search for signatures of dark matter and provide the highest energy direct measurements of the cosmic ray electron spectrum. CALET is to be installed on the JEM-EF ( Exposed Facility) for long-term observations. The objectives are to study the following: 11) 12)

1) The origin and the mechanisms of acceleration of high-energy cosmic rays and gamma rays

2) The propagation mechanism of cosmic rays throughout the galaxy

3) The search for signatures of dark matter has become a focus of particle astrophysics since dark matter is hypothesized to be one of the major constituents of the universe.

As a cosmic ray observatory, CALET aims to clarify high energy space phenomena and dark matter. from two perspectives; one is particle creation and annihilation in the field of particle physics (or nuclear physics) and the other is particle acceleration and propagation in the field of space physics.

Investigators will measure these particles using a high-resolution telescope. The investigation addresses many unresolved high-energy astrophysics questions that have puzzled scientists for decades, such as the origin of cosmic rays, how cosmic rays accelerate and travel across the galaxy, and whether dark matter and nearby cosmic ray sources exist. The investigation also may help characterize the radiation environment and the risks it may pose to humans in space. Additionally, CALET's long exposure in space may yield evidence of rare interactions between "normal" matter and dark matter.


Figure 11: Illustration of the CALET instrument and its components (image credit: JAXA, ASI, Ref. 3)

CALET is capable of making direct measurements at the highest energy levels in the cosmic ray electron spectrum for the observation of discrete sources of high energy particle acceleration in our local region within the Milky Way. The telescope payload has a mass of 650 kg and looks forward to a two to five-year stay attached to the JEM-EF (Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility), Port #9, looking in the zenith direction (Figure 16).

CALET consists of a detector system and data processing units, support sensors and an interface unit that attaches the payload to the Exposed Facility. The detector system is comprised of a CHD ( Charge Detector), an IMC (Imaging Calorimeter), a TASC (Total Absorption Calorimeter) and the CGBM (CALET Gamma-Ray Burst Monitor). The support sensors include a GPS receiver and an ASC (Advanced Stellar Compass) for precise position and orientation determination.

The CALET instrument interfaces with the JEM-EF via a standard FRAM (Flight Releasable Attachment Mechanism) which includes power and data interfaces with the Station's systems. CALET requires a peak power of 650 W and operates at data rates of 35 kbit/s in low data mode and 600 kbit/s in high data mode. The payload has a size of 1.85 x 0.8 x 1.0 m , complying with the envelope available for external JEM-EF payloads.

The CHD system consists of two layers each consisting of 14 organic scintillator paddles provided by ELJEN Technology. Each of the paddles measures 45 x 3.2 x 1 cm with the different layers arranged orthogonally. The organic scintillator material absorbs the energy of incident ionizing radiation and re-emits the absorbed energy in the form of light that can be measured in a detector. CALET uses PMTs (Photomultiplier Tubes) with 8 mm photocathodes to detect the emission of radiation from each scintillator paddle. Through data processing, the charge of each incident particle can be measured in a range from Z=1 to Z=40.


Figure 12: Schematic of the CALET CHD (Charge Detector) system (image credit: JAXA)

Imaging Calorimeters are characterized by a finely granulated readout with a high degree of segmentation featuring a large number of readout channels as opposed to conventional calorimeters consisting of large crystals connected to a single read-out channel. This allows for a detailed measurement of particle identity, travel direction and energy as well as the creation of particle flow algorithms. Imaging Calorimeters have a sandwiched design, alternating between active detector elements and passive absorber elements.

The CALET Imaging Calorimeter makes use of seven tungsten plates as absorbers and 16 layers of 448 scintillating fibers, one stack of eight layers in the x-plane, the other in the y-plane to enable directional measurements.


Figure 13: The CALET imaging capabilities (image credit: JAXA, ASI)

Each of the fibers measures 44.8 x 0.1 x 0.1 cm. Emissions from the fibers are read out by a suite of multi-anode (64) photomultipliers coupled to Readout Electronics based on application-specific integrated circuits that digitize the signals from each fiber with precise time-stamps for event logging. The arrangement of active elements within the system has been chosen to provide the precision necessary to separate incident particles from backscattered particles, precisely determine the starting point of the shower and determine the incident particle trajectory. The primary purpose of the CALET Imaging Calorimeter is the measurement of particle direction while the energy measurement is accomplished with the Total Absorption Calorimeter.

Located atop the Imaging Calorimeter is a silicon detector array consisting of two layers with 6,400 pixels, each square in shape with a side length of 1.125 cm and a thickness of 500 µm. The silicon detector array delivers the necessary charge resolution for the measurement of light and heavy nuclei.

The Total Absorption Calorimeter consists of 12 layers each comprised of 16 lead-tungstate logs that act as absorbing material, each measuring 32.6 x 1.9 x 2.0 cm. Subsequent layers are arranged orthogonally. Events are triggered by a PMT that is located atop the uppermost layer to send a start pulse. The remaining layers feature avalanche photodiodes for the measurement of the depth of penetration of any given particle to assess its energy. The Total Absorption Calorimeter has a field of view of 45º around the zenith. It separates electrons and gamma rays from incident hadrons.


Figure 14: Photos of the Imaging Calorimeter (left) and of the Total Absorption Calorimeter (right), image credit: JAXA)

A separate CGBM (CALET Gamma-ray Burst Monitor) can detect particle events from a few keV X-rays to gamma-rays in the TeV range with durations varying from short duration gamma ray bursts, x-ray flashes to longer burst events. It has a time resolution of 62.5 ms and an energy range of 3% at 10 GeV. Two components make up the CGBM, the SGM (Soft Gamma-ray Monitor) and the HXM (Hard X-ray Monitor). SGM uses a single Bismuth Germanate scintillator of size 102 x 76 mm, covering an energy range of 100 to 20,000 keV. The HXM features a dual detector element using Lanthanum Bromide scintillators 12.7 mm thick and 66 x 79 cm in diameter. It covers an energy range of 7 to 1,000 keV. A Beryllium entrance window is used for the measurement of soft X-rays below 10 keV.


Figure 15: The components of the CGBM (image credit: JAXA, ASI)

The non-detecting area of the entire CALET detector system is surrounded by a segmented scintillator array to serve as an Anti-Coincidence Detector, being triggered by all particles arriving from a direction that does not strike a detector from above, instructing the instrument to reject that measurement.

The thickness of the calorimeter sensors allows measurements well into the TeV (Tera Electron Volt) energy region with excellent energy resolution. The coupling of an imaging and total absorption calorimeter permits an accurate identification of the starting point of electromagnetic showers as well as the lateral and longitudinal development of showers.

CALET will deliver electron spectra in the trans-TeV region to look for nearby cosmic-ray sources, it will track dark matter annihilation electron/positron signatures in electron/gamma energy spectra at energies of 10 GeV to 10 TeV, it will provide spectral data sets starting with protons to heavier elements up to iron at 20 TeV/n plus heavier elements (Z=26-40) at a few GeV/n. CALET will also measure the electron flux at energies below 10 GeV to support solar physics and record Gamma-ray and X-ray events in the low-energy range from 3 keV to 30 MeV. Gamma-ray measurements for an indirect measurement of dark matter decay will also be supported by CALET.

CALET delivers its data flow to the ISS Data System where science data is stored or downlinked in realtime depending on TDRSS availability. Downlinked data is relayed to the MSFC (Marshall Spaceflight Center) from where raw data is transmitted to Tsukuba Space Center, going through the JAXA Operations Control System to reach the CALET Ground System. Raw data is directed to an archiving system and to the various processing locations where higher science products from Level 1 quick look data to Level 3 calibrated calorimeter and Gamma-ray Burst Monitor data is created, archived and made available via a web server.


Figure 16: Illustration of the CALET instrument mounting at Port #9 of JEM-EF (image credit: NASA, JAXA, ASI)



Mission status:

• On October 5, 2015, two ESA CubeSats, the student-built AAUSAT-5 and the professional technology demonstrator GOMX-3, were deployed from the ISS (International Space Station) with the NRCD (NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer). 13)


Figure 17: Photo of the GOMX-3 and AAUSAT-5 deployment (image credit: NASA)

• Sept. 30, 2015: Kounotori-5 (HTV-5) reentered Earth's atmosphere at 5:33 hours JST (Japan Standard Time), September 30 (20:33 UTC, September 29, 2015), completing 42 successful days of a cargo supply mission to the ISS. 14) 15)

• Sept. 16, 2015: According to JAXA, the Kounotori-5 will leave the ISS on Sept. 29, 2015 and reenter the Earth's atmosphere to burn up. 16)

- Waste disposal: The HTV-5 undertakes a role of reentering into the atmosphere with up to 6 metric tons of waste and expired experiment devices that becomes no longer necessary, thereby enabling the removal and replacement of devices on the ISS. When Kounotori-5 departs from the ISS, it leaves with the following equipment (Ref. 5):

1) SMILES (Superconducting Submillimeter-Wave Limb-Emission Sounder). A Japanese experiment device delivered aboard the HTV-1 in 2009 and has been installed to the Kibo's EF.

2) MCE (Multi-mission Consolidated Equipment). A Japanese experiment device delivered aboard the HTV-3 in 2012 and has been installed to the Kibo's EF.

3) STP-H4 (Space Test Program - Houston). A NASA experiment device delivered aboard the HTV-4 in 2013 and has been installed to the ELC-1 on the truss. Meteorological observation, heat control, radiation measurement, and data processing test were conducted.


Figure 18: Illustration of the waste cargo layout on the EP (Exposed Pallet), image credit: JAXA)

• On August 25, 2015 (UTC), the CALET (CALorimetric Electron Telescope) instrument was transferred by the Kibo's robotic arm JEMRMS ((JEM Remote Manipulator System) and installed to the Kibo's Exposed Facility (EF), see Figure 16 for the location of CALET. 17) 18)

- Also on August 25, the removal of the HTV-5 EP (Exposed Pallet) on the ULC (Unpressurized Logistics Carrier) was started by the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System).

- The Expedition 44 crew opened the hatch of Kounotori-5 and entered the PLC (Pressurized Logistics Carrier) at 10:24 UTC on August 25.


Figure 19: Photo of astronaut Kimiya Yui opening a hatch of the PLC (Pressurized Logistics Carrier), image credit: JAXA, NASA

• August 25, 2015: HTV-5/Kounotori-5 started its final approach to the ISS, and was captured by the ISS robotic arm (Canadarm2) at 10.28 UTC on August 24. Following a successful grapple, the crew handed off to the ground where robotic controllers were in charge of berthing the HTV-5 to the Harmony module of the Station with assistance by the crew who completed commanding of the CBM (Common Berthing Mechanism). All cables between Kounotori-5 and Harmony were connected. Kounotori-'s berthing operation was completed at 17:28 UTC on August 24. 19) 20) 21)

- HTV-5 successfully linked up with the ISS through a series of orbit-raising maneuvers that placed it in a position to begin its close rendezvous on August 24. Going through a methodical process, HTV-5 moved up to ISS from a position straight below, coming to a halt just 10 m from the complex where it could be grappled by the SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) robotic arm controlled by Japanese Astronaut Kimiya Yui.


Figure 20: Japan's "Kounotori" resupply ship is installed to the Harmony module (image credit: NASA TV) 22)

• After launch on August 19, 2015, the HTV-5 spacecraft started out in an orbit of ~185 x 300 km at an inclination of 51.6º. Starting out in this elliptical low Earth orbit, HTV-5 was tasked with its first orbit-raising maneuver a few hours into its mission, after going through its initial checkouts and reconfigurations in orbit. The first orbit adjustment put the spacecraft into an orbit of 246 x 300 km in which it flew until Sept. 27, catching up with the Space Station. The first height adjustment maneuver was conducted on Sept. 27 at 17:55 UTC, delivering the HTV to a position 28 km below and 4,500 km behind the ISS for the next maneuvers. 23)


1) "HTV5 Mission," JAXA, Aug. 17, 2015, URL:

2) "Launch Success of H-II Transfer Vehicle Kounotori-5," JAXA Press Release, Aug. 19, 2015, URL:

3) Patrick Blau, "HTV-5 Cargo Overview," Spaceflight 101, URL:

4) "Technology CubeSat hitch-hiker on today's HTV launch," ESA, Aug. 19, 2015, URL:


6) "External Platform," NanoRacks, URL:

7) "NanoRacks External Platform (NREP) Standard Interface Definition Document," Astrium North America, Doc. No.: ANA–EPP–IDD–0001, Issue 7, March 20, 2014, URL:

8) "NanoRacks' Space Station External Payload Platform Completes Manufacture," NanoRacks, June 19, 2014, URL:

9) "NanoRacks' Space Station External Payload Platform Completes Manufacture," NanoRacks Press Release, June 19, 2014, URL:

10) Per Christian Steimle, Uwe Pape, Carl Kuehnel, Michael Jonhson, "External Payload Platform Service - A new fast track and low cost access to the outside of the International Space Station," Proceedings of the 65th International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2014), Toronto, Canada, Sept. 29-Oct. 3, 2014, paper: IAC-14.B3.3.8

11) "CALorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET)," JAXA, April 24, 2015, URL:

12) Andrea Dunn, "Stork Set to Make Special Space Station Delivery," NASA, August 14, 2015, URL:

13) "AAUSAT-5 and GOMX-3 in orbit," ESA, Oct. 5, 2015, URL:

14) "KOUNOTORI5 Mission Completed," JAXA, Sept. 30, 2015, URL:

15) "Successful re-entry of H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI5" (HTV5)," JAXA Press Release, Sept. 30, 2015, URL:

16) "H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI5" (HTV5) departure from the ISS and re-entry to the atmosphere," JAXA Press Release, Sept. 16, 2015, URL:

17) "CALET installation completed," JAXA, Aug. 26, 2015, URL:

18) "Transfer of the Exposed Pallet (EP) was Completed. Crew entered KOUNOTORI5," JAXA, August 25, 2015, URL:

19) "Successful berthing of the H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI5" (HTV5) to the International Space Station (ISS)," JAXA Press Release, Aug. 25, 2015, URL:

20) Patrick Blau, "HTV-5 Mission Updates - Busy HTV-5 Cargo Operations begin aboard Space Station," Spaceflight 101,Aug. 26, 2015, URL:

21) "ISS Crew Concludes KOUNOTORI5 Berthing Operations," JAXA, August 25, 2015, URL:

22) "Japan's Cargo Ship Installed on Station," NASA, August 24, 2015, URL:

23) Patrick Blau, "HTV-5 Mission Updates - HTV Cargo Craft arrives at Space Station after smooth Rendezvous," Spaceflight 101, August 24, 2015, URL:

The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: "Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors" (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates (

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