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Kounotori "White Stork" to Carry 14 Doves to ISS


UPDATE: The HTV-5 launch has been delayed to Wednesday, August 19 at 4:50 a.m. PT, due to unfavorable weather conditions.

UPDATE: The HTV-5 launch has been delayed to Monday, August 17 at 5:35 a.m. PT, due to unfavorable weather conditions. Read JAXA’s release.

Fourteen Doves have made the trip from our lab in San Francisco across the Pacific Ocean to Tanegashima, Japan. This, however, is the first leg of a much longer trip. Their final destination is Low Earth Orbit.

This Sunday, August 16, at 13:01 UTC, the H-IIB rocket will launch from the Tanegashima Space Center, carrying the unmanned Kounotori “White Stork” spacecraft ( HTV-5) to the International Space Station (ISS). The HTV-5 will carry food, water and other vital ISS supplies as primary payload. Our fourteen Doves (Flock 2b) will hitch a ride as secondary payload.

The Kounotori HTV spacecraft. Image: NASA

Flock 2b will have company inside the HTV-5; Japan’s S-CUBE—a 3U meteor observation cubesat— and Brazil’s SERPENS nanosatellite are onboard, too.

After HTV-5 reaches Low Earth Orbit, it will pursue the ISS, accelerating to seven kilometers per second before berthing with the station. Once astronauts load Flock 2b onto the ISS, the Doves will deploy into orbit early this fall, via Nanoracks deployers.

This is a particularly exciting launch for all of us at Planet. With Flock 2b, Planet will have successfully launched 101 Dove satellites into orbit. Sunday also marks our first launch on a Japanese rocket.

Watch the launch for free on Sunday at 6am PST on NASA TV.