The ISS currently lacks a Japanese crewmember. But in anticipation of JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata’s November arrival, the HTV-4 is delivering Kirobo, a compact talking robot. Developed through a collaboration involving the University of Tokyo, Toyota Motor Corp. and Dentsu, Kirobo features voice and face recognition technologies.
The Japanese freighter is scheduled to depart the ISS on Sept. 4 to clear a berthing port for the arrival of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Cygnus resupply craft. The unpiloted capsule is tentatively scheduled to launch Sept. 14 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Va., on a demonstration mission to close out its participation in NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program.