Image courtesey Shane Kimbrough / NASA
The Japanese HTV-6 cargo vehicle has been released from the International Space Station after 45 days in orbit.The vehicle was released by Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet (ESA) and current ISS commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA using the Canadarm2 robotic arm. The HTV-6 was launched from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan on the 9th of December 2016, and was successfully docked to the ISS on 13 December.
The vehicle has since moved a short distance away from the ISS, remaining in orbit while conducting data gathering using a JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) experiment designed to measure electromagnetic forces using a tether in low-Earth orbit.
The ship will be deorbited on 5 February, and will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.