A rocket carrying a cargo vessel for the International Space Station launches in Japan. Image by AP PHOTO


Japan launches cargo to space station

2020-05-22 11:31:18

A rocket carrying a cargo vessel has blasted off to deliver supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) from a space centre in southern Japan. 

The cargo transporter Kounotori 9 was aboard the H-2B rocket launched at 2.31am local time on Thursday from the Tanegashima Space Centre, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. 

The Kounotori, which means stork in Japanese, separated from the rocket and was put into a planned orbit 15 minutes later as scheduled, the agency said. 

The cargo vessel, carrying six tonnes of food, clothing and experiment devices, is scheduled to dock at the ISS on Monday, the agency said. 

This is the final mission for both the cargo transporter and the H-2B rocket, developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Rocket launches from the centre on Tanegashima Island usually attract many spectators, but the agency shut down observation sites amid the coronavirus pandemic.