JAXA space cargo transporter re-enters atmosphere after ending ISS mission


An unmanned space cargo transporter operated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency re-entered Earth’s atmosphere around 3:30 p.m. Saturday and burned up over the Pacific, after completing its mission.

The Konotori No. 4 was equipped with a so-called i-Ball device to videotape its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere and beam back images before disintegrating.

Launched Aug. 4 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, the Konotori No. 4 ferried about 5.4 tons of supplies to the International Space Station, including the talking humanoid robot Kirobo and an advanced camera to capture images of comets. It docked at the ISS on Aug. 10.

The vehicle was spun off from the ISS and released into space by a robotic arm Thursday, loaded with rubbish and items no longer necessary, such as used equipment for experiments.