A Japanese rocket filled with supplies for the International Space Station will launch today from southern Japan. After many high-profile failures of cargo resupply missions within the past year, there is extra pressure for this launch to go well.
On board the uncrewed vehicle is a H-II Transport Vehicle-5 (HTV-5) cargo craft, carrying more than 4.5 tons of food, water, spare parts, and other equipment for the ISS crew members. The launch is scheduled for 7:50AM ET, with live coverage of the event beginning at 7:00AM ET. If the mission is successful, the cargo capsule will dock with the ISS at 6:55AM ET on Monday, August 24th.
This is the second cargo resupply mission to launch after SpaceX's failure in June — when a Falcon 9 rocket carrying supplies disintegrated en route to the ISS. A Russian robotic Progress spacecraft brought the astronauts much-needed food and supplies after that failure in July; the crew is well-stocked for many months, but the success of this mission will guarantee the station won't run out of supplies any time soon.
The HTV-5 is also carrying a student-built satellite called the AAUSAT5 to the station, as part of the European Space Agency's "Fly Your Satellite from the ISS!" education program. After reaching the ISS, the AAUSAT5 will be deployed into orbit, making it the first ESA student satellite mission to launch from the station. The satellite is designed to track ships moving through remote waters.
The HTV-5 launch was originally scheduled for Sunday, August 16th, but bad weather conditions at the launch site pushed back the mission.