Japanese freighter docks at International Space Station

An unmanned Japanese freighter successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) earlier this morning. 

Expedition 32 Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide used the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to link the HTV-3 Kounotori3 (aka “white stork”) to its docking port on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony node at 10:34 a.m.

Earlier, working from the robotic workstation inside the station’s cupola, NASA Flight Engineer Joe Acaba, with the assistance of Hoshide, captured the 16.5-ton cargo ship it flew within about 40 feet of the orbiting complex.

After equalizing pressures between the cargo craft and the station, the crew is scheduled to open the hatches Saturday and begin the process of transferring approximately 7,000 pounds of supplies from inside the Kounotori3’s Pressurized Logistics Carrier. 

Cargo includes food and clothing for the astronauts, an aquatic habitat experiment, a remote-controlled Earth-observation camera for environmental studies, a catalytic reactor for the station’s water regeneration system and a Japanese cooling water recirculation pump.

Kounotori3 is slated to remain docked with the ISS until September 6 when, like its predecessors, it will be detached from the Harmony node by Canadarm2 and released for a fiery re-entry over the Pacific Ocean.