With HTV Attached, ISS Has a New Room (for the moment)

Gotcha! Credit : NASA

Gotcha!
Credit : NASA

Japan’s Kounotori-4  HTV cargo craft was berthed with the International Space Station today at 11:38 AM EDT.   Using the same Prox radio system which will also be used to communicate with Orbital Sciences Cygnus spacecraft next month,  astronaut Karen Nyberg, with support from Chris Cassidy, captured the supply vessel with the Canadarm 2 remote manipulator arm, after which a robotics team at Mission Control in Houston issued the commands for the arm to bring the ship in for berthing and hard attachment to the Harmony module’s Earth facing port.   The crew will open the hatch and begin the unloading process on Saturday tomorrow morning. With both the European ATV and the Japanese HTV attached at the same time, the station’s pressurized volume will temporarily increase by roughly 30 cubic meters,  or more than 1,000 cubic feet.  It is worth considering for a moment, what the net effect on usable space in orbit might be if NASA, JAXA, ESA and Russia all found a new way to take out the trash, and developed a rationale and methodology for keeping in space, what it costs so very much to get there in the first place.

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