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ISS Welcomes First Japanese Cargo Ship

Following a flawless first voyage, the H-2 Transfer Vehicle 1 (or HTV-1, for short) successfully docked at the ISS with the help of astronaut Nicole Stott and a robotic arm on board the Space Station. Having launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre on September 10, MSNBC reports that the unmanned cargo ship docked shortly before 4 p.m. yesterday, delivering much needed supplies and hardware to the crew on board.

The idea is that once the NASA space shuttle fleet is retired (sometime in the next year or so), unmanned cargo ships can take over the delivery of goods and supplies.

"After the space shuttle starts to fade away, we will take over responsibility to bring stuff up to the space station," MSNBC cites Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi as saying. "We're really looking forward to the success of this mission."

Noguchi is due to launch to the station in December.

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