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Satnews Daily
June 5th, 2019

Critical Hardware for JAXA's HTV-X Spacecraft to be Supplied by Sierra Nevada Corporation

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) teamed with the Marubun Corporation of Tokyo, Japan, and has been awarded a contract to supply critical hardware for Japan’s HTV-X cargo spacecraft. 

Artistic rendition of JAXA's HTV-X spacecraft.

HTV-X is the advanced version of H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV).  The spacecraft will provide supplies to the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module and the International Space Station for future servicing missions. The HTV-X spacecraft is developed and operated by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), with primary sections of the vehicle being manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO).

SNC has provided thousands of devices on hundreds of space missions for more than three decades, including more than eight sets of HTV cargo pallet restraint mechanisms, and more than 15 sets of CYGNUS cargo vehicle Passive Common Berthing Mechanisms and External / Visual Ranging Cue systems. For HTV-X, SNC will be able to leverage this extensive flight heritage and once again supply multiple key technologies.

HTV-X Mission Hardware Highlights:

  • HTV-X External / Visual Ranging Cue System:
    • Navigation lights activated on-orbit and prior to robotic arm deployment to assist in guiding the vehicle safely berth it to the space station.
  • Passive Common Berthing Mechanism:
    • The PCBM is a mechanical and structural interface required to safely and reliably attach a spacecraft to the space station.
  • Hatch Kit:
    • Allows astronauts to enter the vehicle and retrieve critical supplies, payloads and experiments.

  • Internal lighting system:
    • State-of-the-art solid-state lighting technology used to provide efficient mass and power solutions for navigation, crew and astronaut task lighting. This new technology replaces outdated fluorescent tubes.
  • Cabin pressure sensor: 
    • Unique sensor design suitable for the rigors of space flight while maintaining precision accuracy in monitoring atmospheric pressure inside the pressurized spacecraft (or HTV-X Cargo vehicle).


Bryan Helgesen, Senior Director of business development for SNC’s Space Systems business area, said that SNC is proud to service the space station in any capacity, and the company's services for the HTV-X vehicle show a great partnership between international and U.S. companies.

HTV-X exact launch dates are still to be determined.