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Japan launches Kounotori cargo transporter on final mission to ISS

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I used to work at the Space Launch Complex in California. Vandenberg AFB. Helping to launch rockets putting satellites into orbit was exciting and a lot of fun. We also helped keep ICBM crews in practice, launching payloads down to Kwajalein atoll in the South Pacific.

Looking at pictures of the HIIB rocket, I would say that it resembles the Titan IV that we used to use for low earth orbit payloads. I am surprised that the payload of the HIIB is not heavier. The Titan IV s that we launched as spy satellites had payloads of over 20,000 pounds, although in very low orbits. The Titan, like the HIIB, also was a liquid fueled rocket aided by solid rocket boosters. I remember one time we launched a Titan that had six solid rocket boosters attached, although there is nothing in the history books about anything like that.

The Titan IIIs and IVs that were used for space launches very occasionally failed, but the Titan IIs (ICBMs) and Atlas launches were very reliable.

Anyway, kudos to Japanese scientists and engineers for an impressive space program.

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