February 6, 2017
Science, Technology and Academia

I have been informed that KOUNOTORI6 spacecraft has successfully completed its mission, after safely docking with the International Space Station (ISS), delivering cargo supplies, undocking from the ISS, reentering the Earth’s atmosphere with waste from the ISS and making a safe splashdown into the expected ocean area.

KOUNOTORI6 carried the latest model of Japan-made lithium-ion batteries indispensable for ISS operations. While KOUNOTORI6 docked with the ISS, the batteries outside of the ISS were exchanged by astronauts through extravehicular activity.

Also, it is delightful that KOUNOTORI6 has contributed to further promote active utilization of Kibo’s facilities, including the transport of micro-satellites.

The mission’s success is an evidence of the perseverance of all those involved.

In relation to the experiment of technologies for removing space debris, it is unfortunate that it did not achieve all of the desired results. It is expected that the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will analyze the obtained data to advance the technology to the next step.

KOUNOTORI7 and future vehicles are scheduled to transport essential cargo supplies such as ISS batteries. MEXT will continue to steadily promote the ISS project in collaboration with related countries.

Hirokazu Matsuno
Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology

(Research and Development Bureau, Space Development and Utilization Division)