Japanís HTV-2 set to depart ISS after two month visit - really excellent article by Pete "Mr ISS" Harding http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/03/japans-htv-2-depart-iss-two-month-visit/
Robotbeat - yes, that is the HTV-R concept.There are three options:Option 1 - Fly a small re-entry pod inside the PLC.Option 2 - Fly a small re-entry capsule in the ULC, accessed by a hatch in the back of the PLC.Option 3 - replace the entire PLC with a re-entry capsule. This could be capable of returning crew.ESA are also pursuing a re-entry concept for their ATV, however that has lost momentum lately due to a lack of demand.The ISS international partners are currently working to develop a "common transportation policy". Once this policy has been finalised, we'll know which agencies are going to pursue re-entry capability. They might just deicide that Dragons alone are enough.
Successful Re-entry of HTV2The H-II Transfer Vehicle "KOUNOTORI2" (HTV2) successfully re-entered the atmosphere after the third de-orbit maneuver at 11:44 a.m. on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 (JST).The HTV2 successfully accomplished the main objective of shipping cargo to the International Space Station, and completed all of its missions over 67 days with today's re-entry.The estimated times for re-entry and water landing are as follows: (Times are in JST)Estimated re-entry time*: around 0:09 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30, 2011Estimated water landing time: between 0:21 and 0:41 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30, 2011*Altitude at 120 kmhttp://www.jaxa.jp/press/2011/03/20110330_kounotori2_e.html
Any early word on whether any data was received from the Re-entry Breakup Recorder (REBR) device that was monitoring the HTV's breakup during reentry?
First REBR Reentry a Success.EL SEGUNDO, March 30 -- The first Reentry Breakup Recorder (REBR), an instrument designed and constructed by engineers at The Aerospace Corporation, successfully recorded data as it plunged through the atmosphere on Tuesday night aboard the disintegrating Japanese HTV-2 spacecraft.The REBR then "phoned home" the data via the Iridium satellite system as it fell into the South Pacific Ocean Tuesday evening."It performed beautifully," said Dr. Bill Ailor, director of Aerospace's Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies and REBR development team leader. "The data we've gathered is absolutely unique and will shed new light on the phenomenon of how satellites and launch stages break apart on reentry."Although it was not designed to survive impact with the water, the REBR did in fact remain intact and continued to transmit data for hours as it bobbed in the ocean between Chile and New Zealand. Analysis of the data will take six to eight weeks.The REBR is a small autonomous device that is designed to record temperature, acceleration, rotation rate, and other data as a spacecraft reenters Earth's atmosphere.The Aerospace Corporation designed REBR to collect data during atmospheric reentries of space hardware in order to help understand breakup and increase the safety of such reentries. The REBR project was supported by the U.S. Air Force, NASA, and the Boeing Company. The first flight test of the small, autonomous device was coordinated by the Department of Defense's Space Test Program.A second REBR will reenter the atmosphere aboard the European ATV2 vehicle in early June.http://www.aero.org/news/newsitems/032911-REBRsuccess.html