Launchpad Fire Forces Japan to Call Off Cargo Ship Launch to Space Station: Report - Tue 10 Sep 23:13 GMT

Liftoff was set for 5:33 p.m. EDT (2133 GMT).

  The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-IIB rocket carrying the HTV-8 spacecraft atop its launchpad at Tanegashima Space Center in Japan on Sept. 10, 2019.

  Japan called off a planned cargo ship launch to the International Space Station today (Sept. 10) after a fire erupted on the launch platform for the mission's rocket, according to press reports.

  The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was counting down toward the launch of an HTV-8 cargo ship atop an H-IIB rocket when the launchpad fire occurred at the Tanegashima Space Center, according to Aviation Week space editor Irene Klotz, who posted live updates from the launch site on Twitter .

  Ray Iechika Takaku, a spokesperson for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, told reporters on site that the company has never seen a launchpad fire during H-IIB launches, .

  HTV-8 is carrying more than 4 tons of supplies for the International Space Station, including six lithium-ion batteries and a prototype Sony laser-communications system to the ISS, and today would be the 10th anniversary of its first launch to the space station.

  NASA officials said the space station's current six-person Expedition 60 crew is in good health and in no danger of running out of food or other vital supplies.

  Editor's note: This story was updated at 6:12 p.m. EDT (1212 GMT) to include updates from a post-fire press conference by Aviation Week Space Editor Irene Klotz via Twitter and official statements from MHI and NASA.