HTV Launch Orbit

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (
Date: Wed Sep 09 2009 - 18:20:59 UTC

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    JAXA provides some information on the launch trajectory (and on the rendezvous 
    and reentry procedures) on

    Rather than launching directly into the ISS orbit plane they first fly out of 
    Tanegashima on an azimuth of 108.5 degrees (rather than 134) before turning 
    further south. I think they use the same azimuth for sun-synchronous launches 
    and it has to do with range safety and protecting important fishing grounds 
    (and costs more energy).
    They state that HTV insertion is 15 min 11 sec after liftoff at an altitude of 
    287 km. The map of the launch trajectory suggests the insertion point to be 
    at 3.3 North, 157.4 East. 
    Assuming a launch at 17:01:46 UTC, 10-SEP-09 and taking the insertion point 
    and time (rather than the launch time and the Tanegashima coordinates) to 
    attach the 200 km x 300 km, 51.7 degree orbit I get the following VERY rough 
    HTV Injection                           
    1 25544  98067A   09253.72021991 0.00006405  00000-0  48333-4 0     3
    2 25544  51.6614 229.1048 0075409  93.8163  82.0083 16.07734678     6
    I do hope somebody else has better information and that Spacetrack comes up 
    with accurate elements shortly after launch. Looks like I might have a chance 
    to see HTV on its very first orbit!
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
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