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Japan launches rocket to supply space station

January 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A rocket carrying supplies for the International Space Station lifted off from a remote island in southern Japan on Saturday.The mission is designed to help fill a hole left by the retirement of NASA's space shuttle program.

It's Japan's second flight to the space station.

The unmanned rocket is carrying nearly six tons of food, water, clothing and experimental equipment.

The rocket is expected to reach the space station on Jan. 27.

After docking with the space station, dropping off its cargo and being loaded up with waste material, the rocket's transfer vehicle, named "Kounotori2," will be detached and burn itself up upon re-entering Earth's atmosphere.

Kounotori means white stork in Japanese.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.