Successful re-entry of H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI9” (HTV9)

The H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI9” (HTV9) successfully re-entered the atmosphere after the third de-orbit maneuver at 3:40 p.m. on August 20, 2020 (Japanese Standard Time, JST).

KOUNOTORI9 being released by the SSRMS. Image Credit: JAXA/NASA

The “KOUNOTORI9” has successfully accomplished its main objective to ship cargo to the International Space Station (ISS).


The estimated date/time of “KOUNOTORI9” re-entry and splashdown are as follows (Japanese Standard Time, JST):

  • Estimated re-entry Altitude at 120 km: August 20, 2020 / 4:07 p.m.

  • Estimated splashdown: August 20, 2020 / 4:19 p.m. ~ 4:57 p.m.


on August 20, 2020, the 9th H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI9" ("HTV9") left the orbit and reentered Earth’s atmosphere as scheduled. Launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on May 21, 2020, “KOUNOTORI9” successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS) and transferred onboard resupply items and utilization cargoes to it. Then, loaded with trash materials from the ISS, “KOUNOTORI9” departed from the ISS and completed Today’s reentry into the atmosphere to finish its mission.


The nine “KOUNOTORI” transfer vehicles have been transporting not only Japanese cargo but also those of the ISS international partners since its first launch in 2009, and have played an important and indispensable role for operations and utilization of the ISS as the only spacecraft capable of transporting large-sized experiment racks to the ISS. In particular, we believe that we were able to make a significant contribution to the future stable operation of the ISS by continuously transporting the ISS’s new batteries from “KOUNOTORI6” to “KOUNOTORI9” which replaced the old ones that had been used beyond their design life.


JAXA has acquired various new technologies and knowledge through the development, launch and operations of “KOUNOTORI”. In order to meet the strict safety standards imposed on spacecraft flying and approaching manned space facilities, JAXA developed the rendezvous and capture technology and applied it to “KONOTORI”. This new technology has also been adopted by the U.S. resupply vehicle, and we believe it has become and international standard. Moreover, we have also achieved many results that might lead to progress of future manned space activities through technical demonstrations making use of opportunities of “KONOTORI” operation, such as demonstration of the Small Re-entry Capsule (HSRC) on “KOUNOTORI7” and Wireless LAN Demonstration (WLD) on “KOUNOTORI9”.


JAXA is currently developing a new resupply vehicle, the HTV-X, as a successor to the KOUNOTORI. Based on our accumulated technologies and knowledge, we will steadily develop the HTV-X as a new resupply vehicle with improved transport capability and operability, as well as a spacecraft that can be used for cargo resupply to the manned cislunar station, Gateway.


Finally, we would like to express here our heartfelt gratitude to many officials from domestic and international organizations and many individuals who provided us with precious support and assistance to “KOUNOTORI” missions. We would like to ask you for continued attention and support to us.


Source: JAXA