Report: NASA may buy Japanese spaceship

July 21, 2008 9:33:11 AM PDT
NASA needs a replacement for the space shuttle and it's reportedly turning to Japan to help keep supplies flowing to the international space station. Japan's largest daily newspaper reports NASA is in unofficial talks with Japan's space agency to purchase the H-2 Transfer Vehicle, or HTV.

The HTV is an unmanned cargo vessel being designed to deliver supplies to the space station. The orbiting facility is currently kept stocked by the space shuttle as well as Russian and European spacecraft.

The U.S. has relied on the space shuttle for manned missions into space since 1981, and is set to retire the aging workhorse in 2010. Its replacement, the Orion space capsule is behind schedule isn't due to start astronaut test launches until early 2015.