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Space Station Crew Captures Japanese Supply Ship


The crew of the International Space Station successfully grappled Japan’s HTV-4 resupply capsule early Friday, six days after the freighter lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center.

NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg captured the 33-foot-long spacecraft with its 3.6 tons of cargo at 7:22 a.m., EDT, using the ISS Canadian robot arm.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency HTV-4 moves within 20 feet of ISS for robot arm capture by NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg. Photo Credit: NASA TV.

The fourth in the series of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency supply ships was to be maneuvered to a berthing port on the station’s U.S. segment Harmony module within three hours.

Nyberg was posted at a control console in the ISS Cupola observation deck for the capture with Canada’s 58-foot-long robot arm. She was assisted by NASA colleague Chris Cassidy and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano for the robot arm capture as the two spacecraft sailed 260 miles just south of South Africa.

“Good work,” offered NASA’s Mission Control.

Internal cargo off loading of food, water, clothing and research gear is scheduled to begin Saturday. Robotic operations to remove nearly one ton of external research equipment and spare parts is scheduled for late Sunday.

Ground control teams from NASA and at JAXA’s Tsukuba Space Center will handle the external off loading with Canada’s robot arm and Japan’s 33-foot-long robotic manipulator. An external pallet securing all of the external hardware aboard the HTV-4 will be placed on an exposed platform attached to the Japanese Kibo research module.

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