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Friday, 18th September 2009
In General Japan News,

Cargo spaceship docks at International Space Station

A Japanese freighter spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station yesterday evening (September 17th).

The unmanned craft was launched a week ago and has taken 4.5 tonnes of equipment and supplies - including food, materials, computers and clothing - to the astronauts aboard the station.

On arrival at the space station, the HTV spaceship hovered around ten metres away and was grabbed by the platform's robotic arm.

After being unloaded, the craft will be sent back to earth in six weeks - full of waste - and is due to burn up on its re-entry into the atmosphere, over the Pacific Ocean.

In total, the spacecraft cost 20 billion yen to create and in the future could be adapted to carry humans.

Flight director in charge of the mission Koji Yamanaka told those gathered at the Tsukuba space centre in Japan: "I'm so relieved because I was feeling the pressure and responsibility," reported AFP.

Written by Graham McPherson.

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