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JAXA Astronaut Activity Report

JAXA Astronaut Activity Report, August 2011

Last Updated: November 2, 2011

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

Astronaut Hoshide trains in Russia for the ISS Expedition Mission

Astronaut Hoshide, assigned as an International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 32/33 crew member, trained at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) for his upcoming mission aboard the ISS.

In addition to the response training in the event of depressurization and fire in the Russian Segment, Hoshide participated in training sessions to support Russia's spacewalk, anti-G training, which uses the centrifuge to simulate the gravitational loads during Soyuz TMA's launch and re-entry phase. He also participated in a fitting of the custom-made Sokol spacesuit to be donned during launch and re-entry and the leak check in a vacuum chamber, as well as trying Russian space food.

Astronauts Yui, Onishi, and Kanai participate in the 'Caravan Space Workshop for Kids' and Cosmic College

Astronauts Yui, Onishi, and Kanai participate in the 'Caravan Space Workshop for Kids' and Cosmic College

Participating in the caravan space workshop. From left Onishi, Yui, Kanai (Credit: JAXA)

Answering questions from high school students in Cosmic College class. From left Kanai, Onishi, Yui ��Credit: JAXA��

Answering questions from high school students in Cosmic College class. From left Kanai, Onishi, Yui (Credit: JAXA)

On August 7, Astronauts Yui, Onishi, and Kanai participated in the Caravan Space Workshop for Kids in the 'Sendai Star Festival', held at Tohoku University along with the Sendai Star Festival in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, where they held an exchange event and discussed with the students attending the workshop.

The three astronauts then moved from Sendai to Tsukuba, and on August 9, participated in the summer science camp of the Cosmic College held at Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC).

August 9 was the point midway through the camp for 24 high school students chosen from all over Japan. The astronauts appeared as surprise guests midway through the lecture by a JAXA employee. The students, who were watching the three astronauts' introduction video just before they made their appearance, exclaimed in surprise. The astronauts introduced themselves and then answered the students' questions. The students got very excited, and the camp ended with them retaining their motivation.

The three astronauts returned to the U.S. in mid-August and restarted training at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). There, they received training on language, flight training using the T-38 jet trainer, and reviewed procedures and tools for spacewalks. Onishi, in preparation for the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) training scheduled this October, received pre-training on the Automated External Defibrillator (AED), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and emergency oxygen cylinder.

The NEEMO training is conducted in AQUARIUS, the underwater laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is located off the coast of Florida at a depth of about 20 meters. The purpose of NEEMO is to foster leadership, teamwork and self-management skills by co-habitation within the closed facility.

Among the JAXA astronauts, Wakata and Furukawa have experienced the NEEMO training. The primary objective of the upcoming 15th NEEMO mission is to conduct a technical assessment test for future asteroid exploration. For more details of the 15th NEEMO mission, see NASA website, and for AQUARIUS, see AQUARIUS REEF BASE.

Astronaut Noguchi speaks at the APEC Youth Science Festival

Noguchi gives a lecture at the opening ceremony (Credit: JAXA)

Noguchi gives a lecture at the opening ceremony (Credit: JAXA)

On August 21, Astronaut Noguchi attended as a guest speaker at the opening ceremony of the 4th APEC Youth Science Festival in Thailand, where he gave a lecture on the activity on the International Space Station (ISS).

Opening Ceremony (Credit: JAXA)

Opening Ceremony (Credit: JAXA)

The 4th APEC Youth Science Festival is themed From 'Nature to Technology'. Students from 16 countries and regions among the APEC participating countries attended and communicated with scientists, and science and technological activities were performed. For the opening ceremony, the Minister of Science and Technology of Thailand, recognized scientists, and students and teachers from participating countries attended.

During the opening ceremony, using slides, Noguchi introduced the experiments performed in the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module (JEM), manipulation of remote manipulator systems, and life on the ISS. He also discussed his aspiration to be an astronaut and introduced how to respond to anomalies. He mentioned that he hoped a Thai astronaut would be born in future. After the lecture, he spent some time talking to the students and took pictures with them.

In addition, he commented on the astronauts' training and future space development foresights in interviews with the TV station and APEC secretariat. He also answered questions from a students' representative and yelled to the students, "Keep on striving without giving up, and you will be rewarded someday."

Astronaut Wakata receives a medal for his contribution to human space development

Mr. Akiyama (left) and Astronaut Wakata (right) each received a medal (Credit: JAXA)

Mr. Akiyama (left) and Astronaut Wakata (right) each received a medal (Credit: JAXA)

Astronaut Wakata was given an award for his outstanding contribution to the development of human space flight, along with Mr. Toyohiro Akiyama, the first Japanese to have traveled into space. They were given medals from Ambassador Mikhail Bely at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

Celebrating half a century since Yuri Gagarin's first human flight into space, Russia awarded the medals to 63 foreign astronauts to honor their international contribution to human space development. Among the Japanese, Mr. Akiyama, Astronaut Wakata and Noguchi were presented with awards. Noguchi received his medal directly from the Russian President, Dmitrii Medvedev, at a ceremony held at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow this April.

Wakata commented "It's a great honor. This medal was given to all people who have devoted themselves to human space development in Japan. I want to express our gratitude to all those who have supported us."

Astronaut Noguchi serves as a CAPCOM for Astronaut Furukawa's events

Noguchi served as a CAPCOM (second from back)

Noguchi served as a CAPCOM (second from back)

On August 1, a communication event was held connecting Astronaut Furukawa aboard the ISS, the Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC), and Tokyo Electron Miyagi Limited of Taiwa town, Miyagi Prefecture. In the Mission Control Center (MCC) at the NASA John Space Center (JSC), Noguchi supported Furukawa's event serving as a Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM).

From this month we introduce comments from support staff, as well as astronauts' information and comments. The memorable support staff introduced here for the first time includes Mr. Takefumi Wakamatsu, who has supported the newly certified Astronauts, Yui, Onishi, and Kanai, for the past two years.

Takefumi Wakamatsu, Administrator, JAXA Astronaut Group, Human Space Technology and Astronauts' Department, Human Space Systems and Utilization Mission Directorate (Credit: JAXA)

I am Takefumi Wakamatsu. I was responsible for supporting the basic training sessions for Astronauts Yui, Onishi, and Kanai.

I have seen them encountering language problems and various difficulties in training and have also seen them striving and overcoming each difficulty. When all three candidates were certified as astronauts, I was delighted, as if it had been my own achievement.

I re-read the training reports they submitted monthly, and found the contents and expressions they used had changed somewhat compared to the beginning of training. In addition, people around them say they look intrepid these days. I realized that in these two years, they have steadily prepared to become astronauts.

When they were at the press conference for the astronaut certification, I was in the office in Houston and changed their office's doorplate 'ASTRONAUT CANDIDATE' to 'ASTRONAUT'. At the time, I was over the moon... although nobody else noticed that the doorplate had been changed.

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