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Japan today successfully launched to ISS the last of its first generation HTV cargo ships.
This was the ninth such cargo ship launched by Japan. The mission was also the last launch of Mitsubishi’s H-2B rocket, Japan’s most powerful. It is being replaced with the H-3 rocket, which they hope to fly for the first time before the end of this year. They also hope that the H3 will be cheaper to operate, and will allow Mitsubishi to garner some commercial business with it, something they failed entirely to do with the H-2B.
This was also Japan’s second launch in 2020, which means they remain outside the leaders in the 2020 launch race:
The U.S. continues to lead China 11 to 8 in the national rankings.