International Space Station Crew Received Christmas Gifts And 5 Tons Of Supplies From Japanese Cargo Ship
Kounotori 6 or "White Stork," also otherwise known as HTV-6, is a Japanese cargo ship that successfully delivered the Christmas gifts sent for the International Space Station (ISS) crew members on Dec. 13, 2016. Along with the gifts, 5 tons of food, water and other experimental supplies were included in the cargo.
American astronaut, Commander Shane Kimbrough, along with France's Thomas Pesquet, used the outpost's robotic arm Canadarm 2 to capture the cargo ship from the orbit. It was then berthed to the Harmony nodule of the International Space Station (ISS).
The cargo ship took four days to reach the ISS and make the delivery. The success of this resupply mission was celebrated by flight controllers in Japan and Houston. The mission's success is a highly welcome event, specifically after the launch failures of the Russian and SpaceX supply ships two weeks ago, reported CTV News.
Kimbrough said, "It has about four-and-a-half tons of supplies for us, which we're really excited about," and expressed his feelings, saying "We were talking last night and thought it was really cool how our cooperation, and the strength of our international cooperation, is so strong when you have a NASA astronaut and a European Space Agency astronaut using the Canadian robotic arm grabbing a Japanese vehicle and attaching it to the U.S. side of the space station."
The cargo ship delivered about 600 liters of water, along with food, and crew commodities including TV cameras and Small Satellite Orbital Deployer. The pressurized section of Kounotori 6 contained seven CubeSats, while in the unpressurized section of the ship, six new lithium-ion batteries were sent. These lithium batteries will replace the currently used 12 nickel-hydrogen batteries for the forthcoming space walks scheduled on Jan. 6 and Jan. 13, 2017, reported Space Flight Insider.
After receiving the cargo, Kimbrough said that, "Based on a lot of the equipment that's brought up, we're going to see a lot of robotic and spacewalk activity coming up in the new few weeks, and it's going to be really exciting."
Kounotori 6 will remain berthed to ISS for the next six weeks, after which it will continue its next mission on technology demonstration payloads.