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Space station cargo mission underlying launch of fire pad – Spaceflight Today



H-2B rocket during fuel before successive launch pad. Credit: MHI

Japanese officials announce the launch of an H-2B rocket and HTV space station cargo ship on Tuesday following a fire that erupted at the launch pad at Tanegashima Space Center.

Fire broke out around 1805 GMT (2:05 pm EDT) Tuesday, or 3:05 am local time Wednesday, around three-and-a-half hours before the H-2B launcher was set to take off on an automated supply ship bound for the International Space Station.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation when officers briefed reporters on the fire four hours after cameras noticed an explosion near the 186-foot-high (56.6-meter) base rocket. The launch pad escaped at the time of the fire, and rocket manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, reported no injuries.

A live video feed of the launch showed a flash near the base of the H-2B rocket, followed. of cloud smoke. Water jets began spraying the launcher and its mobile platform 15 minutes later.

90 minutes later, a loudspeaker in Tanegashima said that the launch of the H-2B was postponed due to a "fire around a hole in the mobile launcher's deck … We are trying to extinguish a fire."

The fire broke out after an H-2B launch team filled a rocket with nearly 430,000 pounds (194 metric tons) of extremely cold liquid hydrogen and oxygen liquid propellant.

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Flames can easily be seen live video feed for a few minutes before getting drunk. But a hydrogen fire could barely be seen, and the water continued to spray on the launch pad for nearly three hours. ground personnel are still investigating the cause of the explosion.

No apparent rocket damage was detected after sunrise in Tanegashima.

Officials from the MHI and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency did not has announced a new target launch date, but the flight is expected to be postponed for at least a few days.

The H-2B rocket is set to explode with Japan's eighth HTV resupply mission to the station of space .

The eighth HTV spacecraft is packed with some 8,326 pounds (3,777 kilograms) of equipment, experiments and crew provisions for the space station, along with six new lithium-ion batteries to be updated the strength of the orbiting research lab's system. Andrew Morgan at the space station planned to conduct at least two spacewalks Sept. 27 and October 1 to begin the installation of fresh batteries, replacing aging and less capable nickel-hydrogen batteries with the P6 solar array module on the far port side of the station's back trone.

The spacewalk schedule may be affected by the delay in launching HTV, depending on how long the mission remains grounded. 25 included cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, and United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori. The trio will arrive at the station on the same day, and Ali Almansoori will return to Earth on October 3 in a unique Soyuz coffee with outgoing station staffers Alexey Ovchinin and Nick Hague. .

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .


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