JAXA’s Kounotori 5 (HTV-5): Mission Overview
published during a new moon.



This artist’s concept shows Japan’s HTV-5 cargo spacecraft separating from its H-IIB launch vehicle. Credit: JAXA

Kounotori 5, also known as HTV-5, is the fifth flight of the H-II Transfer Vehicle, an uncrewed cargo spacecraft launched to resupply the International Space Station. It was successfully launched from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at Tanegashima on August 19, 2015.

Kounotori delivered more than 8,000 pounds of equipment, supplies and experiments in a pressurized cargo compartment. Some of these included a new kitchen galley, and a cosmic ray telescope designed to probe dark matter, and equipment for the ongoing “twins study” NASA is carrying out with the help of astronaut brothers Scott and Mark Kelly. HTV-5 also brought 14 Earth-observing “Dove” cubesats built by San Francisco-based startup Planet Labs. These tiny satellites will eventually be deployed from the space station in order to capture imagery of Earth for use in humanitarian, environmental and commercial applications.

The HTV-5 spent five weeks attached to the international outpost, before being filled with trash, and detached from the station. It was unberthed from the Common Berthing Mechanism on September 28, 2015 by a robotic arm and then released. moved to the release position. Kounotori 5 reentered the Earth’s atmosphere over the southern pacific ocean on September 29th, 2015.


An H-IIB rocket being rolled out onto the pad at the Yoshinobu Launch Complex with the Kounotori-4 spacecraft. Photo Credit: JAXA