Japan sends supplies-laden rocket into space


Delayed after a fire broke out during a planned launch two weeks ago, Japan on Wednesday successfully sent an unmanned rocket with a spacecraft bound to the International Space Station (ISS).

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. launched the H-2B rocket carrying the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s vessel Kounotori8 from Tanegashima Space Center in southwestern Japan’s Kagoshima province at about 1.05 a.m. local time (1605GMT Tuesday), reported Kyodo news agency.

On Sept. 11, fire had erupted at the foot of the launch pad near an exhaust vent hours before launch, which was then aborted.

The vessel Kounotori8 or “white stork” will deliver about 5.3 tons of supplies to astronauts at the ISS including food and water as well as batteries and devices needed for experiments.

The flames were caused by a high levels of engine coolant liquid oxygen, was determined as the cause of the fire that broke out about three hours before the launch, Kyodo said.

The report added that the launch was rescheduled for Tuesday, but was again in order to avoid the rocket from getting close to Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to be launched the same day.
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