Press Release


Successful re-entry of H-II Transfer Vehicle

September 14, 2012 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Successful re-entry of H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI3" (HTV3) The H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI3" (HTV3) successfully re-entered the atmosphere after the third de-orbit maneuver at 2:00 p.m. on September 14, 2012 (Japanese Standard Time, JST).

The "KOUNOTORI3" has successfully accomplished the main objective of shipping cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), and completed its 56-day mission.

The estimated date/time for the re-entry and waterlanding are as follows (Japanese Standard Time):
Estimated re-entry*: September 14, 2012 / 2:27 p.m.
Estimated waterlanding: September 14, 2012 / 2:38 - 2:59 p.m.
* Altitude at 120 km

Reference link: For more details, please refer to the following website:

Comment by JAXA President
Completion of the H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI 3"
(HTV3) mission

Today we would like to announce that the H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI3" (HTV3) has successfully completed its mission encompassing a de-orbit maneuver, re-entry into the atmosphere, and safe splashdown to the expected ocean area.
Having successfully berthed to the International Space Station (ISS) on July 28, 2012, the "KOUNOTORI3" remained docked for approximately 45 days, while all of the internal and external cargo were transferred to the ISS. Subsequently, the "KOUNOTORI3" has completed its mission with the re-entry today.

Some components including its main engine and attitude control thruster have shifted from overseas procurement to domestic production. Meanwhile, with three successful missions in a row, the KOUNOTORI has revealed Japanese remarkableness for manufacturing technology of space vehicles and for unique rendezvous flight techniques to the global audiences. There are considerable expectations that KOUNOTORI will help enhance Japan's position world widely by serving as a means of delivering various cargo indispensable for ISS operations such as ISS system spares and exposed equipment.

Continuous KOUNOTORI launch opportunities are contributing to the accumulation of operation techniques for space vehicles and to acquisition of techniques to develop unique manned spacecraft for the future. With a new data collection equipment, the "KOUNOTORI3" has attempted to acquire still image data as well as varied other forms, including the vehicle temperature and velocity upon breakup during re-entry. These data will be reflected in the research and development of return vehicles. They will also be utilized to elucidate the breakup phenomena of vehicle during re-entry and to enhance its safety.

Finally, regarding this "KOUNOTORI3" mission, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all domestic and overseas organizations, and individuals concerned for their tremendous cooperation and support to date. JAXA will further promote the utilization of the ISS and the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo", and continue successful cargo transportation using the KOUNOTORI. Your continued support and cooperation will be greatly appreciated.

September 14, 2012

Keiji Tachikawa
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)