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ISS Space News

New Unmanned Japanese Re-Supply Vessel For the ISS 93

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the lookit-all-them-wires-up-there dept.
Joshua writes "JAXA, Japan's version of NASA, has scheduled the launch of its new rocket, the H-IIB, for September 11th, 2009. The rocket will be carrying up the first in a series of unmanned supply vessels for the ISS called the HTV. The new Japanese addition to the international space fleet comes as a huge welcome sign to NASA, who has scheduled the space shuttle to retire in 2010. The HTV will be able to transport vital supplies, equipment, and experiments to the ISS, a job that the US space shuttle has been doing largely up until now. Yearly launches for the H-II2 and HTV are scheduled between now and 2015. Until NASA can finish the next generation Ares I rocket, which isn't likely to be finished before 2017, taking astronauts into space and to the ISS will likely become the job of Russia."
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New Unmanned Japanese Re-supply Vessel For the ISS

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  • Yes; But Can It (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    make sushi for the ISS?

    Yours In Akademgorodok,
    K. Trout

  • They can build a robotic ISS supply ship, but they STILL can't build a decent sexbot? What the heck is wrong with those people!
    • Re:Sure (Score:5, Funny)

      by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:23AM (#29379879)

      I promise you, the full force of Japanese industry is dedicated to the effort, if for no other reason than they have run out of fetishes involving real women.

      • I promise you, the full force of Japanese industry is dedicated to the effort, if for no other reason than they have run out of fetishes involving real women.

        No, you'll only have the efforts of the minority of the Japanese workforce not into anime babes and lolicon.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      They could build one, but how many people would be able to afford it?

      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        They could build them, but who would they get to clean them? (Ewww!) At least RealGirls (TM) are somewhat self-cleaning.
      • by Gravatron (716477)
        Have you ever actually looked at home much women cost? In the long term, the sex bot is probably cheaper.
        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Will a sexbot cook, clean, and go grocery shopping? The cheapest sex I ever had cost me a draft beer, the most expensive cost me a house, a car, and part of my pension.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      The sexbots are built. They're just trying to bring down the costs to make them practical. They already compare favorably with a real woman on cost--no ring, no mooching brother-in-law, no screaming kids to put through college. But they still need to be a lot cheaper for mass production.
  • by TorKlingberg (599697) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:26AM (#29379913)

    For reference, there are two spacecraft that can bring crew to and from the ISS:
    * The Space Shuttle
    * Soyuz
    , and two unmanned supply ships:
    * Russian Progress [wikipedia.org]
    * European Automated Transfer Vehicle [wikipedia.org] (ATV)
    The Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle [wikipedia.org] will be the third. It has less payload than ATV and cannot reboost the station, but the door is bigger so it can carry standard size experiment racks and other big things. Neither of the two launch very often, so both will be needed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      We should also have Dragon flying by the end of 2010 if things go as planned, which will amount to another supply ship on par with the ATV, but with payload return capability.
      • by rbanffy (584143) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:46AM (#29380117) Homepage Journal

        I think the ATV is somewhat larger than the Dragon. The Dragon shares the larger door with the Japanese H-II and should be able to carry larger loads. It's interesting that the ATV, although much larger than a Progress, docks to the same hatch (a small one) and is thus unable to carry anything that does not pass through the smaller hatch. At least, not in one piece.

        As for the H-II, return capabilities are being planned. IIRC, so are the ATV folks.

        • by camperdave (969942) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @12:39PM (#29380625) Journal
          The HTV can carry almost twice the cargo that the Dragon can carry, up to the station. However, the HTV is a disposable craft. It gets jettisoned and burns up in the atmosphere. Dragon, on the other hand, is designed with a crew in mind. It can safely re-enter and splash down. Thus the cargo version can bring equipment and experiments from the ISS back to the ground.
        • by hcdejong (561314)

          This raises some questions:
          1. why design the ATV for the smaller hatch, when a larger one is apparently available and would afford greater flexibility?
          2. had the larger hatch been used, there would have been no need for HTV. IMO it's ridiculous to have 2 designs to do basically the same mission.
          3. what were they thinking, using 2 different hatch designs on one space station?

          • I wonder if it's too late to respond now.

            This raises some questions:
            1. why design the ATV for the smaller hatch, when a larger one is apparently available and would afford greater flexibility?

            It connects to the Russian docking system that Soyuz and Progress also use, which has a smaller hatch. The advantage is that it can dock automatically. HTV just flies near the station and has to be picked up manually with the robotic arm and connected. The port the HTV is connected to isn't really intended for spacecraft but for connecting station modules. The hatch is bigger, but more work to connect/disconnect. I think it would also be harder to reboost the station

    • by NoYob (1630681)
      Neither of the two launch very often, so both will be needed.So much for the Japanese doing it smaller and faster.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Martin Blank (154261)

      There seems to be a great deal of attention being paid to the ISS by various countries around the world. As another posted points out, the Dragon may be ready soon, and after the shuttle's retirement, this would make at least four systems that can provide resupply. Construction may come to a halt (at least temporarily), but it doesn't seem that the crews will be short of things to do while there. If construction continues at some point, the ability of multiple agencies to launch could provide for a fairl

      • I for one welcome open interoperability in the space program =)
      • China has (limited) manned spaceflight and has expressed interest in going to the ISS, but the US is against it. I suppose they would dock to the Russian side.

        • by elrous0 (869638) *
          Once again, NASA throws a childish temper tantrum when anyone dares threaten their own narrow vision of what the ISS should be (i.e. a PR vehicle for NASA).
          • I don't think it's NASA so much as the Bush administration that opposed it. I don't know if it has come up this year.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by WindBourne (631190)
        Construction may come to a halt (at least temporarily), but it doesn't seem that the crews will be short of things to do while there.
        Actually, it appears that Construction will not stop. For starters, Italy just paid a bit of money to NASA to leave one of the modules on there. Now, NASA is FINALLY studying the idea of buying one or more Bigelow units and adding it to the ISS. To get it there, they will need to either use the shuttle, OR a tug. If done right, this could fire up the private industry and jum
        • While I welcome that possibility, it's a far cry from the rate of addition of modules originally planned. If Bigelow can add capacity and capability at a reasonable cost, then I'm all for it. However, before something like this gets added to the station, it needs to be determined whether it will work as planned. I looked up the Sundancer and BA-330 modules, and both of them appear to have expanded considerably on the technology in the Genesis modules. This will make NASA wary about attaching one of them

    • The H-IIB [www.jaxa.jp] is the launch vehicle. It can launch 16 metric tons of payload to the ISS. The HTV [www.jaxa.jp] is the actual spacecraft. It is the first automated vehicle that can carry a mix of pressurized and unpressurized cargo. It also has a bigger hatch, allowing bulkier cargo.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:35AM (#29379985)
    It should be launching in half an hour [www.jaxa.jp]
    Live video from JAXA [www.jaxa.jp]
    Live video from NASA [nasa.gov]
    • by Jivecat (836356)
      Did anyone see anything from this JAXA webcast feed? All I saw was green, as if they forgot to patch in the signal.
      • by jittles (1613415)
        Oh don't be fooled. That is the green screen they are going to use to fake the launch. Special effects have gotten a lot better since the "moon landing" ;o)
  • Don't forget, NASA has already contracted SpaceX [spacex.com] for resupply vessels. $3.5 billion contract. This was covered previously [slashdot.org].
  • Of course, in an emergency, the rocket will transform into a giant robot and defend the Earth from alien invaders.

  • H-IIB (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by natehoy (1608657)

    Am I the only one who initially read that as "H-1B" and thought "gee, the displacement of American workers has now reached the Astronaut level?" :)

    • I thought it was named that to show Japan's engineers that there are interesting jobs in Japan and please don't leave and work in the US.
  • Say what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @12:33PM (#29380549) Homepage

    Until NASA can finish the next generation Ares I rocket, which isn't likely to be finished before 2017...

    What the heck is taking so long? 7 and 1/2 more years for a modified spam can? WTF? It's not like we have no experience with ballistic re-entry vehicles and the lift vehicle design is based on components already in operation. Why is it going to take almost another decade to field a working booster? Okay, it's got problems. Anything that has to go 17,000 mph in space is going to take some work, but come on. We have solved those problems before. We're not reinventing the wheel. That just seems totally ridiculous.

    Is it really that hard, are the contractors trying to milk the project, or has NASA become such a bloated bureaucracy that it takes 10 years to field lobster claw technology? Hell, bring the Russian engineers in. They'll weld the doors closed, kick it the butt and boost it up there.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838)

      What the heck is taking so long? 7 and 1/2 more years for a modified spam can? WTF?

      Yeah, it can't be that hard, it's only rocket science.

      You're sounding a lot like a PHB setting an "aggressive" timeline on a software project with no clue about what the job really entails.

      • It took only 9 years from nearly zero to putting men on the moon. This amount of time (which is extraordinarily excessive) is just a symptom of how bureaucratic NASA has become.
        • by barzok (26681)

          It took only 9 years from nearly zero to putting men on the moon. This amount of time (which is extraordinarily excessive) is just a symptom of how bureaucratic NASA has become.

          NASA also had much, much more then than they do today, and a real drive to get it done on a very fixed timeline. Today, deadlines are just those things that go "whoosh" as they fly by.

          It was also driven very heavily by Cold War-era propaganda, which we don't have now. We aren't exactly challenging "tha terrists" in a race for the moo

          • by barzok (26681)

            That's "much more funding than they do today"

            • by zogger (617870)

              I think it was also "much harder working with much less political BS and slacking off" back then. Just a guess though...Nasa is a federal bureaucracy,,it functions the same as all other federal bureaucracies therefore, the nature of the beast. The longer any bureaucracies stay in existence, the slower and less efficient they become, and it inevitably costs more to get the same amount of work done that they did when they first were created. Committees to schedule meetings where they will decide which committ

              • by barzok (26681)

                Just throwing that out as a possibility, because I see no proof that Nasa is different from other long standing governmental organizations now.

                Here's one difference: unlike most agencies, they don't get a large enough budget to do what they should be doing.

                • Which agency.... (Score:2, Interesting)

                  by zogger (617870)

                  Which one is it again, which federal agency claims they just slap get too much money? So much that they give a lot of it back and tell congress "please, stop giving us so much money, we have more than enough to do this job"?

                  Just wondering, because I never heard of any agency claiming they had enough loot. All of them to the best of my recollection have always wanted more money saying they *need* it to "do their jobs".

                  • by barzok (26681)

                    None are saying they get too much, but how many are getting their budgets cut year after year because administrations simply don't consider the work they do "important"?

                    • I hope near all of 'em. I'm for emergency spending cuts and elimination of several agencies outright (department of education, the endownment for the arts, the BATFE, the DEA just for starters)..and if I was made doofus commander clerk in chief, I'd can the Fed, actually just seize it and nationalize it, and dump the IRS totally and come up with a better way to fund government, such as DIRECTLY and eliminate that insane stupid medieval hold over "tax" BS middleman shuffle they got going on now, which serves

    • Actually, a lot of it is because NASA was underfunded for quite some time (years).
    • Components. American components, Russian Components, ALL MADE IN TAIWAN!
  • There is a girl with blue hair and big blue eyes wearing a "sailor suit" school uniform with a short skirt that is painted on the side of launch vehicle!

  • It is soooo stupid for a major power like the US to not have an operational manned launch vehicle (omlv) available.

    This IS the 'Space Age' isn't it?? Didn't we practically invent it? So how does it come to pass that we will spend over 5 years w/out an omlv???

    It's crap.
  • you have to be very careful with these Japanese spacecraft. They have a habit of bringing back monsters from outer space, or crashing and waking up those existing on Earth.

  • With the budget problems faced by NASA and the obvious enthusiasm for space exploration shown by other nations, surely it is time for more co-operation. It is becoming clear that an International Space Agency of some sort is needed although I'm not sure who is best placed to administer this (the UN is the only international body with enough stature to do it, but does not normally concern itself with 'scientific' matters). As things stand, national pride is seriously holding back mankind's ambitions in spac

    • I have to say I can muster no enthusiasm for an idea of a single, monolithic international space program. The nice thing about separate national programs is that, if one of them has bad management, at least there's a chance that one or more of the other programs is being well run. It also encourages trying different technical approaches to problems, which means better chance of finding a 'better way' to do things.

      I'm rather happy with the status-quo - cooperation in some things, competition in other things.

  • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @12:57PM (#29380789)

    I thought it was the unmanned Russian Progress spacecraft that has mostly been supplying the ISS:

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/progress.html [nasa.gov]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RobBebop (947356)
      Check this [wikipedia.org] out for an up-to-date list of all UNMANNED launches past, present, and future to the ISS.
      • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:12PM (#29381743)

        Thanks - interesting.

        So that would be a resounding yes to Progress being the primary ISS supply vessel!

        It's interesting to note the docked/undocked dates - each Progress basically stays docked with the ISS until it has to move to make way for the new one. They use the empty ones for garbage disposal - they stuff it with full with whatever they don't want and it all burns up together on re-entry.

        • by RobBebop (947356)
          In addition to a garbage disposal, it's also a pantry where their food is stored since there isn't much sense unloading it when a new one docks.
        • Not really (Score:4, Informative)

          by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @02:47PM (#29382061) Journal
          It has probably provided the majority of the LIVING supplies. BUT in terms of tonnage carried up there, I think that you will find that the shuttle has taken the bulk up there. For starters, there has been roughly 1 shuttle, 1 progress and 1 souyz per quarter. The souyz and the progress do not match the shuttle.
  • We have Liftoff (Score:4, Informative)

    by ultraexactzz (546422) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @01:46PM (#29381397) Journal
    Apparently, the launch was successful: Liftoff occured at 2:01 a.m. local time, and the spacecraft proceeded into orbit without incident.

    Space.com Reports on the Launch [space.com]
  • The whole Ares project should be scrapped, and alternatives used instead. Buzz Aldrin had a good plan that would have been simpler, cheaper, and faster.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Buzz Aldrin had a good plan that would have been simpler, cheaper, and faster.

      It was excellent in its simplicity... he'd pull back his fist and POW! Straight to the moon!

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by master_p (608214)

      Mr Aldrin should have known that renting an outdoor filming studio costs a lot more these days...

  • Another nation in on the ISS, from the wikipedia list [wikipedia.org] of future supply flights, they'll be one Japanese cargo flight per year for the next 5 years. This is the same as the number of European Arane/ATV flights. Not that many really, is it even worth designing a craft for that few flights. Russia will be doing 17 Soyaz flights and Dragon/Falcon 9, 12 flights. I hope the ISS mission will get extended 5 years at least, so that we get moneys worth out of all these supply craft.

    ---

    Space Craft [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Dist [feeddistiller.com]

  • Now that the US appears to be giving up on manned space exploration it's good to see other nations step up to the plate.

  • I look forward to hearing more about international interaction for creating a "space" economy in itself, everybody will have their place in maintaining space travel either to the moon or beyond...some could be supplies, others technology, still others manpower etc...
    I hope this will help push man more towards a Star trek like existence, rather then the petty democracy we live in today filled with consumerism and "shallow hal" ideologies

  • All your space are belong to us.
  • [quote]JAXA, Japan's version of NASA[/quote]

    Would it have killed you to write "Japan's space agency"?

    What next, "The bullet train, Japan's version of Amtrak", "2chan, Japan's version of 4chan"?

  • by TheModelEskimo (968202) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @07:59PM (#29384953)
    ...my brother is an astronaut, and he was TOTALLY looking forward to the air lock door flying open and some taikonauts shouting, "SUPPLIES!"

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