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JAXA Astronaut Activity Report

JAXA Astronaut Activity Report, April 2011

Last Updated: June 6, 2011

This is JAXA's Japanese astronaut primary activity report for April 2011.

Training in Russia

Astronaut Furukawa at a media briefing

Astronaut Furukawa at a media briefing (Photo Credit: JAXA/GCTC)

Astronaut Hoshide (right) showing reporters around the GCTC training facilities during open training

Astronaut Hoshide (right) showing reporters around the GCTC training facilities during open training (Photo Credit: JAXA/GCTC)

Astronaut Furukawa, assigned as an International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 28/29 crew member, flew to Russia from the United States to participate in his last training session at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) before his launch to the ISS. The training focused mainly on the Russian ISS modules and the Soyuz TMA spacecraft.

The training included a Soyuz integrated simulation training session, which gives flight crew members the opportunity to review how to maneuver and operate the Soyuz TMA spacecraft using the Soyuz simulator. The training session was opened to the media and a press conference was also held alongside, during which Furukawa discussed his aspirations toward his upcoming mission aboard the ISS. Astronaut Hoshide, who was also visiting the GCTC to participate in training, showed the press corps around the GCTC training facilities and gave details of training there.

Hoshide, assigned as an Expedition 32/33 crew member, participated in a training session on operations of the modified version of the Soyuz spacecraft, the Soyuz TMA-M, at the GCTC.

After receiving a lecture on the attitude control system and the descending modes of the Soyuz TMA-M spacecraft, Hoshide confirmed his understanding through a hands-on session using the Soyuz simulator. He has also started more practical Soyuz operations training, learning how to maneuver and operate the spacecraft systems through lectures and integrated simulation training, in which astronauts simulate a portion of the Soyuz flight using the Soyuz simulator, according to a flight scenario, along with the other two astronauts as a team. Hoshide also learned the medical operations support systems on board the Russian ISS modules.

"During the Soyuz training, I received lectures and hands-on sessions alongside my future ISS crewmates, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA Astronaut Sunita Williams, who will fly aboard the Soyuz spacecraft with me. It was the first time for us to team up in the Soyuz training. As our launch date nears, we will work together more frequently. I look forward to working with them as a team. Meanwhile, my fellow astronaut Furukawa will begin his mission aboard the ISS this June. I believe he will perform various investigations and experiments in space based on his background as a medical doctor. Please don't miss it!"

Astronaut Wakata, assigned as an Expedition 38/39 crew member, participated in an intensive Russian language program in Moscow, while enjoying a homestay with a Russian family. Through the program, he further enhanced his Russian language ability, as well as familiarizing himself with Russian culture, for smooth communications with Russian crew mates and the Russian flight control team during his stay aboard the ISS.

On April 12, 2011, many special events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of human space flight by Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took place in Moscow and at the GCTC. At the Grand Kremlin Palace, an awards ceremony, “the Medal award for contribution in space development”, was held to honor international astronauts having made great contributions to human spaceflight development activities, for their outstanding support and achievements. About 60 international astronauts, including JAXA astronauts Wakata and Noguchi, were awarded the medals. Noguchi, who attended the awards ceremony, received the medal from Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.

Astronaut Candidate Training

Photo: Astronaut candidates Yui (right) and Onishi (left) during astronaut field geology training

Astronaut candidates Yui (right) and Onishi (left) during astronaut field geology training (Photo Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Astronaut candidates Yui, Onishi, and Kanai continue their astronaut candidate training at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) and other sites in the United States.

Yui's training this month focused mainly on the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS). Kanai's training centered on Extravehicular Activity (EVA). Onishi participated in training to simulate EVA activities, which simulated the tasks performed during the STS-133 (ULF5) mission, alongside his senior astronaut Noguchi, who was also taking part in the simulation training.

In-between training at JSC, Yui and Onishi participated in astronaut field geology training held in Flagstaff, Arizona, with a view to future human planetary exploration missions.

The three also continued their language lessons and flight training using a T-38 jet trainer.

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