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JAXA Astronaut Activity Report

JAXA Astronaut Activity Report, August, 2014

Last Updated: October 16, 2014

This is JAXA’s Japanese astronaut activity report for August, 2014.

Astronaut Kimiya Yui undergoes training for a long-duration ISS mission in Russia and Japan

Astronaut Kimiya Yui, a crew member for the ISS expedition 44/45 mission, underwent training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in the first half of August. In the second half of the month, Yui temporarily returned to Japan to train at the Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC).

In Russia, training was held for the Soyuz spacecraft and the ISS Russian segment. Using a simulator to recreate the Soyuz spacecraft, Yui rehearsed operations from launch to docking, with the time involved similar to those of actual operations. He also simulated manual atmospheric re-entry operations in preparation for the possible failure of the automated control mode.

As part of the Russian segment training, Yui operated the Inventory Management System (IMS) installed in the computer and took an exam on the segment’s internal hardware layout. Assuming sudden depressurization in the mock-up Russian module located in the decompression chamber, he experienced operations with the hatch, which became difficult to open and close due to pressure difference.

An emergency return from the ISS was also simulated, which involved Yui undergoing the entire process - boarding the Soyuz spacecraft, undocking from the ISS, responding to various failures, and landing on Earth.

During his stay in Russia, Yui also visited “Zvezda”, the manufacturer of Sokol spacesuits, for a fitting of the spacesuit to be worn during the Soyuz flight. He checked his Sokol space suit, to see whether it would fit his custom-made Soyuz seat liner and whether it would function properly under a low-pressure environment.

Yui also visited RSC Energia, the Soyuz spacecraft developer and had the chance to check out the real spacecraft; not normally accessible during everyday training.

At the TKSC, he was trained in the systems of the Japanese Experiment Module, “Kibo” and Japanese experiments.

He reviewed what he had learned in the previous training series as well as learning how to operate and maintain the Proximity Communication System (PROX), the system used when the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) KOUNOTORI approaches the station, Kibo's airlock, and the TV cameras.

The training included Kibo's robotic arm (Japanese Experiment Module Remote Manipulator System: JEMRMS) operating alongside the JAXA Flight Control Team (JFCT).

Yui simulated the JEMRMS operation in cooperation with the JFCT; including both nominal and failure operations. As such, he experienced the task sequence unfolding by collaborating with ground staff. Training for the experiments onboard Kibo included an overview of the experimental themes and equipment involved.

Astronaut Takuya Onishi undergoes training for a long-duration ISS mission in the U.S. and Russia

Astronaut Takuya Onishi, who was assigned as a crew member for the Expedition 48/49 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), underwent training for this long-duration mission at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) at the beginning of August, followed by the GCTC in the second half of the month.

His training at the JSC was focused on Extravehicular Activity (EVA). Diving into the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL), a large pool containing a submerged full-scale ISS mock-up, Onishi simulated the maintenance operations for the exposed equipment installed on the exterior of the ISS.

In addition, Onishi also performed several flights aboard a T-38 jet trainer as part of his space flight preparation.

The training in Russia focused on the Soyuz spacecraft operations: undocking from the ISS, deorbit burn, re-entry into the atmosphere, motion control during the descent phase, and landing. In addition, he was lectured on and practiced the Russian docking system.

Astronaut Norishige Kanai enrolls in an intensive Russian language program

From mid-July until the end of August, Astronaut Norishige Kanai stayed in Moscow, Russia and enrolled in an intensive Russian language program.

As well as learning the Russian language, this program is also intended to acquaint astronauts with Russian culture to facilitate communication with Russian cosmonauts on future ISS expedition missions.

During his stay, Kanai immersed himself in an environment in which he could experience Russian customs and understand the Russian mindset in real life to cultivate a better understanding of Russia.

Astronaut Koichi Wakata undergoes technical debriefing with JAXA officials

Astronaut Koichi Wakata temporarily returned to Japan from late July to August 22 and attended debriefing sessions for his Expedition 38/39 mission with related parties at the TKSC.

Wakata, the JAXA Flight Control Team (JFCT), Payload Flight Control Team (PL FCT), and Kibo's instructors overseeing training for astronauts in Kibo's systems and experiments, etc., reviewed the mission, assessed all operations and training contents and discussed further improvement.

Mission-reporting event held in Tokyo (Credit: JAXA)

Mission-reporting event held in Tokyo (Credit: JAXA)

During his stay, mission-reporting events targeting the general public were held at several venues in Japan. A further three reporting events will be held from the end of October to the beginning of November.

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