Japón launched a cargo-carrying rocket Sunday loaded with supplies for the crew of the Estación Espacial Internacional, along with a small robot meant as a companion for one of the country’s astronauts.
According to JAXA the launch had gone to plan.
“The HTV4 module has separated from the rocket as scheduled and continues its journey to the ISS,” a JAXA spokesperson said during the broadcast streamed over the internet.
“Information on its progress will be given later, as and when,” the spokesperson added of the module which is due to dock at the station on August 9.
The unmanned rocket carried a cargo transporter filled with drinking water, comida, clothing and work supplies for the six permanent ISS crew.
The annual mission, which has previously been completed by countries including the Estados Unidos and Russia, will also pick up waste from the space centre.
A small talking robot was accompanying Sunday’s mission. The android is designed to act as a chatting companion for astronaut Koichi Wakata, who is set to arrive at the space station later this year.
“He will be the first robot to visit the space station.”
The robot, which has a wide range of physical motion, will also play a role in some missions, relaying messages from the control room to the astronaut.
Sending the android to space is part of a study aimed at seeing how a non-human companion can provide emotional support for people isolated over long periods.
Back on earth, twin robot Mirata will be on the lookout for any problems encountered by its electronic counterpart, which was inspired by the legendary animation character Astro Boy.
En Enero, Japan launched two satellites from Tanegashima to strengthen its surveillance capabilities, including keeping a close eye on Corea del Norte after it vowed to launch another nuclear test.
One of them was a radar-equipped unit to complete a system of surveillance satellites that would allow Tokio to monitor any place in the world at least once a day.
The other was a demonstration satellite to collect data for research and development.
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