Japan To Launch Cargo Tug to Space Station on Jan. 20

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Japan plans to launch its second unmanned cargo tug to the international space station Jan. 20, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. announced Nov. 10.

Japan launched its first H-2 Transfer Vehicle (HTV) in September 2009 to deliver 4.5 tons of cargo to the international space station. After a successful 52-day mission, the trash-laden HTV undocked from the space station and re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, where it disintegrated.

The upcoming mission, dubbed HTV-2, is slated to lift off at 3:29 p.m. Japan Standard Time from the Tanegashima Space Center aboard an H-2B launch vehicle, Japan’s workhorse rocket. The mission’s launch window runs through Feb. 28.