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Space Station Crew Berths Japanese Cargo Capsule

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station welcomed the arrival of a Japanese re-supply capsule on Friday.

NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, positioned at the controls of the station’s Canadian robot arm, captured the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s 33 foot long  HTV-4 freighter with its 3.6 tons of food, water, clothing, spare parts and science equipment, at 7:22 a.m., EDT.

Japanese re-supply capsule awaits capture by NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg. Photo Credit/NASA TV

NASA’sMissionControlCentertook over from there, with ground controllers commanding the robot arm to berth the big freighter to the station’s Harmony module.

The freighter, launched Aug 3, will remain docked to the space station until Sept. 4.

Off loading of the internal cargos, including a new Japanese talking robot, Kirobo, will begin Saturday.

Kirobo joins ISS robots. Photo Credit Kibo Robot Project

Kirobo will join previous ISS robots including NASA’s Robonaut 2 and Canada’s external two-armed Dextre.

Kirobo, equipped with voice and facial recognition software, will be waiting asJapan’s next space station astronaut, Koichi Wakata, arrives in late November. The two will speak as part of a social communications experiment

On Sunday, ground controllers from NASA and JAXA will begin off loading external cargos from the HTV-4, including space parts for the station’s solar power system and external experiments. The research gear will be used to develop a robotic satellite cooling system servicing capability and to characterize the space environment around the station to improve satellite communications faced with disturbances from solar activity.

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