Japan successfully sends small recoverable capsule back from ISS

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Japan’s most recent cargo freighter to ISS, after undocking and beginning its de-orbit maneuvers, released a small recoverable capsule that was successfully recovered on Earth.

A capsule ejected from a space cargo vessel returned to Earth on Sunday, bringing back experiment samples from the International Space Station (ISS) in the first such mission for Japan.

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said the capsule, measuring 84 wide and 66 cm high, made a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific near the island of Minamitorishima early in the morning and was retrieved later in the day.

“I think we’ve succeeded almost as planned,” Hirohiko Uematsu, technology director of JAXA, told a press conference at the agency’s Tsukuba Space Center in Ibaraki Prefecture.

The last quote above suggests that the recovery was not entirely successful, but no details were provided. Regardless, this gives the users of ISS a second way to bring experiments back from the station, with SpaceX’s Dragon the first.



  • geoffc

    The capsule is kind of clever. Very small, but whatcha gonna do.

    It nests in the outer side of the hatch. So the ISS crew can fill it, and attach it to the hatch, once the HTV is closed out, but the CBM hatch is open.

  • wayne

    Scene Deconstruction
    Escape Pod Launch

  • mkent

    Regardless, this gives the users of ISS a second way to bring experiments back from the station, with SpaceX’s Dragon the first.

    This is where the ISS is really starting to shine. It will hopefully be seen in the future as the transition point between government manned spaceflight and commercial manned spaceflight. (Even though this is a government effort, its potential to greatly reduce the turn-around time between experiment and results could greatly assist the commercial appeal of a manned space station.)

    The Nanoracks cubesat deployer, the Nanoracks internal and external experiment platforms, this return vehicle, BEAM, the Bishop airlock, the Bartolomeo external platform, and, of course, commercial cargo and crew are laying the foundation for a manned space program useful to those still on Earth.

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