National

Launch of ISS-bound spacecraft is rescheduled for Wednesday

Kyodo

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said Saturday it plans to launch a rocket with an unmanned spacecraft bound for the International Space Station next Wednesday after a fire thwarted earlier plans.

The fire at the launch pad on Tanegashima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture on Sept. 11 caused Mitsubishi Heavy to put off the launch of an H-IIB rocket carrying the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s supply vessel Kounotori8.

A high concentration of liquid oxygen, used as rocket engine coolant, has been determined as the cause of the fire that broke out about three hours before the launch, an official involved in the matter has said.

Mitsubishi Heavy said Friday it would launch the rocket next Tuesday. But it again postponed the launch until around 1:05 a.m. Wednesday to prevent the separated stage of the rocket from getting close to Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to be launched the same day.

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