The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is getting ready to launch it’s first unmanned spacecraft. The HTV-1 cargo ship is expected to launched to the International Space Station and controlled from the Tanegashima Space Centre where the Kizuna communications satellite was launched early last year.
Japan’s new H-2 Transfer Vehicle
The spacecraft is a solar-powered cylinder about 33 feet (10 meters) long and 14 feet (4.4 meters) wide. It can haul up to 6 tons of pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the International Space Station, but will only be packed with about 3 1/2 tons for its debut flight.
Think of the HTV-1 as a $220 million delivery bus that gets burned to a crisp after it has delivered it’s cargo.