A HTV (H-II Transfer Vehicle) cargo craft was carried into orbit by an H-2B (H-IIB) rocket at 1326 GMT on 9 December. The mission was a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) and was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in South Japan. The success of this cargo flight had greater importance following the recent Soyuz-U launch failure of the Russian Progress MS-04 cargo craft on 1 December.

 

The H-2B rocket lifts-off from Tanegashima carrying HTV-6. Courtesy of JAXA

The H-2B rocket lifts-off from Tanegashima carrying HTV-6. Courtesy of JAXA

 

After a four day trip to the station, the craft was grappled by the ISS Canadarm-2 robot arm under the remote control of NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet. The grappling took place at 1037 GMT on 13 December. It was fully berthed it on the Harmony module about 1353 GMT on the same day. (All times from Jonathan McDowell).

The freighter is carrying 4,119 kg of cargo to the ISS, of which 1,367 kg is made of a battery package. This payload consists of six lithium-ion batteries, which will replace older nickel-hydrogen units used on the right-side S4 power truss. The new batteries can replace two older units.

Also part of the launch are 12 cubesats which will eventually be launched from the Japanese Kibo module. Seven of these  have been arranged through JAXA and the remaining five cubesats were arranged by NanoRacks.