Two weeks after a launch pad fire forced a delay, a Japanese H-2B rocket lifted off Tuesday with an HTV cargo freighter to deliver upgraded batteries, experiments and provisions to the International Space Station. Liftoff from the Tanegashima Space Center occurred at 1605 GMT (12:05 p.m. EDT) Tuesday.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the prime contractor for Japan’s H-2B rocket, said Friday that engineers concluded a fire on the launch pad during a countdown earlier this month was most likely sparked by static electricity and stimulated by oxygen. The H-2B rocket launch has been rescheduled for Tuesday to start a resupply mission to the International Space Station.
With plans for the first all-female spacewalk derailed by suit sizing issues, astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague floated outside the International Space Station Friday for a revised excursion to help fix a solar array battery problem and to connect a second set of replacement batteries as originally planned.