Pad fire keeps Konotori 8 earthbound

JAXA’s Konotori 8 cargo mission to the International Space Station was scheduled for departure today, though that was postponed. At about 1205 UT 10 Sep 2019, there was an unexpected fire underneath the launch deck at Tanegashima, near two of the H-IIB rocket’s four solid rocket boosters. Response efforts continued over the following three hours.

The fire did not appear to contact the rocket, though water used to suppress the fire did hit the rocket and SRBs, a problem because, though the response effort made the launchpad safe and saved the cargo capsule, the rocket may still be damaged by either the pad fire or the unexpected mechanical stress and corrosion from the fire-fighting water.

An investigation is now underway to determine the state of the H-IIB vehicle. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced that the launch will not take place earlier than 13 Sep 2019; the possibility of being delayed more than a month has not been ruled out.

Author: Fargo Orbit

The Fargo Orbit delivers science and aerospace news from a vantage point in the centre of North America.