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The HTV (H-2 Transfer Vehicle) or Kounotori is an unmanned, non-reusable cargo spacecraft for delivering pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the International Space Station. Launched by an H-2B-304 rocket, it maneuvers to the vicinity of the ISS, where the Canadarm-2 grapples the HTV and berths it to Node-2.

The HTV spacecraft is nicknamed Kounotori, which is Japanese for “white stork,” and stretches around 33 feet (10 meters) long and 14 feet (4.4 meters) wide. The ninth HTV mission, or Kounotori 9, is packed with more than 13,600 pounds, or 6.2 metric tons, of cargo, supplies and experiments in its pressurized module and on its external payload bay, according to JAXA.

The unpressurized cargo consists of the six new lithium-ion batteries stowed on a pallet inside the HTV’s external payload compartment.

The Japanese freighter will also deliver hardware for government, university and commercial experiments.

One of the payloads packed inside the ninth HTV mission is a module to support a Japanese combustion experiment. The investigation will “scientifically determine the role of gravity in different modes of combustion, such as ignition of solid materials and spreading of flames on various solid materials in the ISS’s environment,” JAXA said on its website.

The HTV is also carrying a camera designed by a Spanish company named Satlantis, which aims to demonstrate the performance of the imaging unit on a platform outside the space station’s Kibo laboratory. Similar cameras could become a standard for future Earth-imaging CubeSats and microsatellites, according to Satlantis.

Japan’s space agency is also delivering new science racks for to the space station NASA and the European Space Agency, plus a water tank and fresh food for the research lab’s crew.

Alternate Names

  • 45607
  • HTV9
  • Kounotori

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2020-05-20
Launch Vehicle: H-2B
Launch Site: Tanegashima, Japan
Mass: 16500 kg

Funding Agency

  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Japan)


  • Resupply/Refurbishment/Repair

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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