Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. launched a rocket with an unmanned spacecraft bound for the International Space Station on Wednesday after a fire thwarted its launch plans earlier this month.
The H-2B rocket carrying the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's supply vessel Kounotori8 was launched at around 1:05 a.m. from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan.
The vessel, named after the Japanese word for "white stork," will deliver about 5.3 tons of supplies to astronauts at the International Space Station, including food and water as well as batteries and devices needed for experiments, according to the space agency.
Mitsubishi Heavy had put off the original scheduled launch on Sept. 11 after a fire was detected at the launch pad.
A high concentration of liquid oxygen, used as rocket engine coolant, was determined as the cause of the fire that broke out about three hours before the launch, an official close to the matter has said.
The company had planned to launch the rocket on Tuesday, but again postponed the launch until Wednesday to prevent the separated stage of the rocket from getting close to Russia's Soyuz spacecraft to be launched the same day.