back to article Japan's 'White Stork' soars heavenwards to ISS

Japan earlier today successfully launched its Kounotori 5 ("White Stork 5") ISS resupply vehicle from Tanegashima Space Center. Carrying 5.5 tonnes of scientific equipment and supplies, Kounotori 5 was lifted aloft by an H-IIB rocket in a dramatic night-time fire and smoke spectacle. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency ( …

  1. King Jack

    Wasted Opportunity

    I really wish that they would send the waste from the space station into deep space. That way we'll get a visit from aliens about our littering. Much better than listening for radio signals.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wasted Opportunity

      much more worried about the space pollution heading our way from that planet populated by billions of Jeremy Clarksons! We ain't got the landfill capacity to cope with that amount of bullshit!

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: Wasted Opportunity

        I hadn't realised space shuttles had Astronauts shouting POWER whilst they were power sliding around the Moon with another Astronauts shouting "What are you doing man" and the other being sick.

        1. Anonymous Custard

          Re: Wasted Opportunity

          Thats 'cos the third one was navigating, and they're currently somewhere between Saturn and Uranus. It was covered up to save embarassment of all concerned...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    secondary usage

    Is it feasable to use the returning missions to sweep parts of their orbit for debris? Even if they only capture one piece, I think it would be worth it.

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: secondary usage

      maybe even fit a deployable "scoop" to snare and drag with it some of the smaller bits of space junk. After a dozen or so resupply missions, LEO might be a bit less hazardous.

    2. Bleu

      Re: secondary usage

      JAXA has just such a mission in planning, only not combined with the return of a supply vessel. .

      I wrote a much better post, but the reg. or Opera mini have trouble, timeout somewhere, since I had data squeezing switched off, I suspect that the reg. may be at fault.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old hat!

    We're already working on the Magnetic Induction Levitating Furnace

    1. Hero Protagonist

      Re: Old hat!

      Here, I'll get you your coat.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'll get you your coat.

        Thanks - you may need these tongs

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Protected from exposure in The Sun by a dirty mac cum solar shade

      A triumph of the Govt's new approach to PPP financing (Pubic Private Priapism), with over half the costs fronted by dirty old men playing Yakkity Sax. further details available in top-shelf journals at the newsagents

      1. PNGuinn

        Re: Protected from exposure in The Sun by a dirty mac cum solar shade

        Oh - you mean *that* kind of mac.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: @GaspardWinckler

      Ooh, got any animated GIFs?

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Sebastian A

    Let's hope this one makes it, the success ratio hasn't been looking all that rosy recently.

  6. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Wait, what?

    When did Japan start building ICBMs? How does that square with their treaty obligations? Given the crazy nationalistic ultra right-wing warcrimes-denying halfwits in charge of japan, I am not remotely okay with this.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Wait, what?

      It's not an ICBM if you don't have any warheads to put on the top, although I'll admit that an ISS resupply vessel landing on your house would ruin your day.

      To answer your question though, Japan launched it's first satellite in 1970.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait, what?

      Japan has had all the building blocks of nuclear war capability for some time now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wait, what?

        World's biggest stockpile of unnatural Pu (half-life twenty thousand and something years), outside the USA, possibly Russia, China, and Israel. Supposed to be used for power generation. I have not researched deeply,

        Obviously, there is a contingency plan to use the stockpile in another way. Almost all reactors are still shut down, and they are all designed for U-235, I do not have the expertise to know if Pu-239 can be used in the same way in them, but from what I do know, it seems improbable.

    3. cray74

      Re: Wait, what?

      When did Japan start building ICBMs?

      Sort of a trick question, since the H-IIB would make a really poor ICBM. Oh, sure, it has plenty of throw weight, but after that it's a stinker.

      First, the H-IIB first and second stage run on liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, which are singularly poor ICBM propellants. They don't store long at all. I mean, even in the 1950s liquid-fueled ICBMs were using room-temperature storable liquids because they were going to sit around for years before war broke out. Liquid oxygen needs more infrastructure to keep chilled, ready, and safe than even its obnoxious alternatives, nitric acid and nitrous oxide, though the US made it work in the 1950s before hurriedly transitioning to solids. And liquid hydrogen is an abject failure for long-term storage in military conditions, particularly since there are alternative fuels (like kerosene, hydrazine, and UDMH).

      Second, the H-IIB is a hangar queen like most liquid-fueled satellite launchers. It needs a lot of preparation, a large launch pad, and long set-up times. It's great-great-great American grandpappy, the PGM-17 Thor, could be readied in 15 minutes (considered sadly slow by the advent of solid-fueled ICBMs), but it didn't have to contend with liquid hydrogen pre-chilling procedures and second stages like the H-IIB.

      No, the H-IIB is not an ICBM, and it is not indicative that the Japanese are planning evil. By the time they assemble, process, fuel, and launch an ICBM, the war would probably be over.

      Rather, what you need to look at are the relatives of the H-IIB's strap-on booster, which are solid fueled. If the Japanese are launching orbital payloads on all-solid rockets, then you've got reasons to send weapon inspectors for a look. All-solid stacks will work for satellite loads, but they're usually less ideal than liquid-fueled rockets for civilian payloads. If someone's using all-solid rockets for civilian launches then either:

      1) They've got a lot of leftover ICBM motors with some profit potential, like the US and Russia. See: Minotaur, Dnepr. Or,

      2) They're ironing out the bugs of their ICBM program under the guise of a civilian program, presumably while twirling their evil mustache and petting a long-haired white cat in their secret volcano layer. See: Shavit, aka Jericho III.

      One notes Japan has volcanoes and white cats, and about 50% of their adult population can have mustaches.

      1. Robert Sneddon

        Re: Wait, what?

        "If the Japanese are launching orbital payloads on all-solid rockets, then you've got reasons to send weapon inspectors for a look."

        You mean like the Japanese Epsilon satellite launcher?

        It doesn't have the lift capacity of the JAXA H2A or the H2B (the ISS resupply launcher) but it could certainly put a small-ball Bucket of Instant Sunshine pretty much anywhere on the planet in less time than it takes you to get a Deliveroo pizza delivered to the wrong door on a different street.

        They've test-fired it once, it worked, they don't seem in much of a hurry to launch another one.

        ESA has the Vega (aka Berlusconi's Bottle Rocket), same principle although it's been launched a few times now unlike the Epsilon.

        1. cray74

          Re: Wait, what?

          "You mean like the Japanese Epsilon satellite launcher?"

          That is exactly what I mean. The Epsilon is very similar in mass, diameter, and length to the LGM-118 Peacekeeper (MX missile), though the underlying motors differ. The MX had a sub-orbital throw weight of under 3000kg, while the Epsilon has a LEO throw weight of 1,200kg. Very similar critters.

          Don't worry about H-IIB ICBMs, worry about Epsilon knockoffs and weird justifications from the Japanese about storing them in silos or on mobile train launchers. :)

    4. GX5000

      That treaty is a two way street and The US has been doing Navy Exercises with them Lately

      1. Robert Sneddon

        Re: That treaty is a two way street and The US has been doing Navy Exercises with them Lately

        Yokosuka naval base south of Tokyo is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the United States Navy. It usually has a CVBG parked there i.e about 10% of the US' capital ship fleet. Time was the Yokosuka carrier was the Kittyhawk since it was the last conventionally-powered fleet carrier the USN had but it's now gone to the great razor-blade factory and the carrier parked there is currently the Reagan or maybe the Washington, both nuclear-powered of course.

        A lot of the Japanese fleet is based on US designs like the Aegis cruisers in part so they can interoperate with the Americans. They've been carrying out exercises with the USN for decades.

  7. gregthecanuck


    Congratulations Japan!

    NASA video of full flight up to payload separation here:

    1. GX5000

      Re: Nice!

      Yes, JAXA actually rocks !

    2. Martin Budden

      Re: Nice!

      I love the dramatic headland visible at 0:40

  8. breakfast Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Classic send up

    "As well as the usual dried food and water for the orbiting outpost's crew..."

    I guess they must save a lot of space by sending up dried water.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Classic send up

      True - it occupies exactly 0 per cent of the space required by hydrated water.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Classic send up

        They need that space to make room for the rehydrating agent

  9. Martin Budden
    Thumb Up

    I'm almost losing count of how many organisations are now capable of ISS re-supply - and that's a good thing!

  10. Bleu

    'Almost losing count'

    Almost losing count at three that are almost always (Progress) or may be from the few occasions they've flown (ATV and Stork) reliable?

    Count to three.

    One, two, three.

    Lost count yet?

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