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JAXA Astronaut Activity Report

JAXA Astronaut Activity Report, December 2011

Last Updated: Febrauary 9, 2012

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

Astronaut Furukawa undergoes post-flight rehabilitation and debriefs on his mission

Furukawa works out with an exercise machine (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Furukawa works out with an exercise machine (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Soon after Astronaut Furukawa had returned from the International Space Station (ISS) on November 22, 2011, he started post-flight rehabilitation in order to get accustomed to the gravitational environment at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC).

Thanks to the exercise program he followed daily during his ISS expedition mission, his loss in muscle strength was limited. His rehabilitation is programmed mainly for recalling balance sense and movement coordination.

After paying floral tribute, Expedition 28/29 crew stands in front of the statue of Yuri Gagarin (Credit: JAXA/NASA/Carla Cioffi�j

After paying floral tribute, Expedition 28/29 crew stands in front of the statue of Yuri Gagarin (Credit: JAXA/NASA/Carla Cioffi)

While undergoing rehabilitation, Furukawa and all those who were involved in the mission gathered for a debriefing at JSC, discussing the lessons learned for future expedition missions.

In mid-December, Furukawa visited Russia to attend a debriefing with Russian officials as well as attending a Welcome Home Ceremony with his crew members. As a post-flight tradition, the Expedition 28/29 crew paid a floral tribute to the statue of Yuri Gagarin.

Astronaut Hoshide serves as one of the backup crew members

Expedition 30/31 prime and backup crews pose for a photo (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Expedition 30/31 prime and backup crews pose for a photo (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Up to December 21, 2011, just before the launch by the Expedition 30/31 crew aboard the Soyuz TMA-03M (29S), Hoshide had been serving as one of the backup crew members.

In early December, the Expedition 30 prime and the backup crews moved from the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

In Baikonur, the crew finalized their preparation on the Soyuz spacecraft, confirming the communication system, operations procedures, flight plan, and safety on the Russian segment of the ISS. They also checked the actual Soyuz TMA-03M in the Spacecraft Assembly and Testing Facility.

As planned, the Soyuz TMA-03M carrying the Expedition 30/31 crew lifted off on December 21. Having completed his backup duty, Hoshide has shifted his focus to pre-flight training for the Expedition 32/33 mission, on which Hoshide will serve as a primary crew member.

Astronaut Onishi participates in contingency training on the ISS

Onishi and other astronauts refer to the Operations Data File to confirm the procedure 
(Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Onishi and other astronauts refer to the Operations Data File to confirm the procedure (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

On December 5 at JSC, Astronaut Onishi trained in procedures on how to respond to contingency cases aboard the ISS, together with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Astronaut Chris Hadfield and NASA Astronaut Thomas Marshburn.

They trained to prepare for sudden depressurization, fire, and toxic spills using a full-scale mockup of the ISS. The NASA Flight Controller, directing and supporting the ISS operation from the ground, joined in the training and simulated communication with the astronauts.

In response to sudden depressurization, the astronauts inspected the safety of the Soyuz spacecraft in case of ISS egress. Subsequently, cooperating closely with the Flight Controller, the astronauts closed the hatches of each module and checked the pressure changes to identify the leak site.

Onishi (center foreground) trains to be prepared for fire (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Onishi (center foreground) trains to be prepared for fire (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Assuming a fire had occurred in Destiny (the U.S. Laboratory Module), each astronaut evacuated to the Russian segment to wear an oxygen mask. They subsequently returned to Destiny and checked the procedure to identify and extinguish the fire.

For toxic spills, they assumed an ammonia leak had occurred in Destiny, escaped to the Russian segment and isolated the U.S. segment by closing the hatch. Subsequently, they measured the ammonia level to determine whether evacuation was necessary aboard the Soyuz spacecraft.

Through this training, astronauts learned teamwork with other crew members and the Flight Controller, procedures in contingency cases and determined the use of emergency equipment.

Astronaut Kanai's training in Russia continues since November

Continuing from November to early December, Astronaut Kanai received training on the Russian segment of the ISS at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC), in Russia.

Kanai received training on the life support system, the data management system, and the communication system of the Russian segment.

Kanai learned the skills and knowledge needed to use the life support system, through lectures and using a full-scale mockup, the fire detection and extinguishing system, the command and control of atmospheric pressure, water supply system, toilets, and galley facilities.

Astronaut Noguchi participates in the 18th Session of the APRSAF

Astronaut Noguchi participated in the 18th Ssession of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space (APRSAF-18) held from December 6-9, in Singapore.

During the event

During the event "JCC Astronaut's Talk: Reaching for the Stars," Noguchi discussed his expedition mission on the ISS

Noguchi gave lecture at the session of the Earth Observation Working Group (Credit: JAXA)

Noguchi gave lecture at the session of the Earth Observation Working Group (Credit: JAXA)

The APRSAF marks the 18th session since its beginning in 1993, which consists of space agencies, governmental bodies, and many other related parties from the Asia-Pacific region; enhancing the exchange of the latest trends and information on space activities as well as facilitating international cooperation.

As one of the events entitled "JCC Astronaut's Talk: Reaching for the Stars," held by the Japan Creative Centre (JCC) and the Singapore Science Centre on December 6, Noguchi spoke to students in Singapore about his expedition mission on the ISS.

On December 7, during a session of the Earth Observation Working Group, Noguchi gave a lecture and introduced astronauts' earth observation activities during the ISS expedition mission. He discussed how the images taken from the ISS were valuable for both scientists and the general public. Showing images of Earth taken from the ISS, Noguchi explained that taking images of Earth was also excellent in terms of psychology, and known to alleviate astronauts' stress.

"Asians in Space" event (Credit: JAXA)

Noguchi attended with Dumitru Prunariu, chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), who completed an eight-day space mission aboard Soyuz 40 and Salyut 6; and Talgat Mussabayev, chairman of Kazcosmos, with experiences of two stays on Mir and one on the ISS. Sheikh Shukor of Malaysia, who participated in the ISS taxi mission in 2007 aboard the Soyuz TMA-11, also attended the event.

Each discussed their experiences in space, changes to their life and views after each flight, and feedback into society. During the panel discussion, they discussed how Asian astronauts could cooperate to devote to the future and the development of regional societies.

After returning from Singapore, Noguchi attended the "Science and Technology Festival 2011" held on December 17, in Kyoto, where he gave a lecture entitled "Facing Earth for 163 days."

This month we introduce one of the support staff, Tatsuya Kaitoh, who has supported Astronaut Furukawa since his preflight training stage.

Furukawa (left) and Kaitoh (right), Human Space Technology Development Group, Human Space Technology and Astronauts' Department, Human Space Systems and Utilization Mission Directorate (Credit: JAXA)

I'm Kaitoh, and I have been responsible for supporting Astronaut Furukawa's training and mission for the past two years.

During his mission, there were certain heart-in-mouth incidents such as the closest encounter ever with space debris and the failure of the Progress 44P to reach orbit, meaning the ISS had to be operated with three fewer crewmembers and made the crew prepare for possible de-crewing, which definitely impacted on the mission. We are delighted to confirm that Astronaut Furukawa completed the mission via teamwork with fellow crew members and safely returned to Earth.

Moreover, thanks to his expertise as a doctor and many years of training, Astronaut Furukawa performed various scientific and medical experiments, which, I believe, will contribute to future human spaceflight and life on the ground.

 
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