Successful launch of the Japanese supply cargo to the International Space Station

Successful launch towards the International Space Station for a Japanese vessel. Supplying and evaluating a technology that will evacuate space debris in an elegant way.


Good news for astronauts aboard the International Space Station, the launch of the Kounotori 6 by H-IIB rocket is announced as a success by the Japanese Space Agency.

After the loss on December 1 Russian cargo spacecraft Progress MS-04 that has burned in the atmosphere before completing its mission, the ISS could soon be supplied with 600 liters of drinking water, fresh food or six new lithium-ion batteries.

These batteries will replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries used to store energy recovered from photovoltaic panels. But among other things, the Japanese ship will also allow to experiment a technology that could be used to clean space debris.


Attached to Kounotori 6, an electrodynamic cable with a length of 700 meters will be deployed with a mass of 20 kg at the end. Formed from a braiding of stainless steel and aluminum ropes, the cable will be traversed by an electric current. A test of seven days and before entering the atmosphere, in order to collect measurements and data in the framework of this experiment called KITE for Kounotori Integrated Tether Experiment.

The idea is that in the earth's magnetic field, the cable will charge itself with electricity. The electrodynamic attraction with the Earth will be strengthened, allowing a gradual descent into the atmosphere. Subsequently, this will make it possible to consume space debris - such as old satellites - in the atmosphere.
However, it must a cables of much longer than used in the test…

The replay of the launch can be seen in the video below ... 

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