Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is launching a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) H-IIB rocket carrying the last of its H-II transfer vehicles. This cargo spaceship has enjoyed a long career of delivering supplies, payloads and experiments to the International Space Station, but MHI is working on a successor that will aim to begin flying in 2022, with advanced capabilities including automated docking. This vehicle will also be designed to make it all the way to NASA’s planned lunar Gateway for long-distance cargo delivery.
This launch is important not just because it’s a milestone for the MHI launch vehicle family,
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