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JAXA Astronaut Activity Report

JAXA Astronaut Activity Report, April, 2015

Last Updated: June 25, 2015

This is JAXA’s Japanese astronaut activity report for April, 2015.

Long-duration ISS mission training of Astronaut Kimiya Yui

Yui trains for Kubik (Photo courtesy of JAXA/ESA)

From April 6-10, Astronaut Kimiya Yui, assigned as a crew member for the Expedition 44/45 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), underwent training for ESA’s experiments at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Cologne, Germany.

Yui practiced familiarizing himself with the Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES), a device used to study how the muscles of astronauts deteriorate over time in microgravity. He also practiced how to maintain Kubik, a small temperature-controlled incubator or cooler. As part of the Haptics-1 experiment intended to develop a system that allows onboard astronauts in microgravity to remotely operate a robot on the ground, Yui had his operating force applied to a joystick being measured. Given that the feeling of operation on the ground and that under microgravity is considered different, the data obtained will be compared with that obtained during his ISS stay and used for development of the system.

From April 13, Yui underwent training for the Soyuz spacecraft and the ISS Russian segment at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Russia. For training regarding the Soyuz spacecraft, Yui used a simulator to practice a series of operations ranging from the rendezvous, approach, and docking with the ISS to the return to Earth. At the end of the training, Yui and his crewmates Oleg Kononenko and Kjell Lindgren took a qualification exam to manually maneuver the Soyuz spacecraft. The exam covered the operational techniques for docking with the ISS and subsequent return to Earth. For the Russian segment, another qualification exam was given on the operational techniques in the Russian segment; thus, they completed all the certification exams.

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43S crew taking an exam on manual operations of the Soyuz (Photo courtesy of JAXA/GCTC)

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Yui starting to take a qualification exam on manual reentry operation (Photo courtesy of JAXA/GCTC)

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The trio taking a qualification exam for the Russian segment (Photo courtesy of JAXA/GCTC)

Yui's launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft (43S) has been postponed from May 27 due to the loss of the Progress (59P) supply vehicle. The rescheduled launch target is slated for July 23.

Long-duration ISS mission training of Astronaut Takuya Onishi

In early April, Astronaut Takuya Onishi, a crew member for the Expedition 48/49 mission to the ISS, temporarily returned to Japan to undergo training for the Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo) at the Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC).

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Onishi training for the Biological Experiment Unit (Credit:JAXA)

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Onishi lecturing at the TKSC open house event (Credit:JAXA)

Onishi received training on the Kibo's experimental RYUTAI and Saibo racks, and then confirmed the structures, the procedures for changing samples, and other aspects of operation. Training for Kibo also included the Passive Dosimeter for Life Science Experiments in Space (PADLES) used to measure the level of radiation inside Kibo and the Microgravity Measurement Apparatus (MMA) used to measure the level of gravity during those experiments. Training on the Japanese Experiment Module Remote Manipulator System (JEMRMS) covered a simulation of maneuvering the robotic arm to a safe position in case any irregularity occurs. Other training included refreshing the knowledge about Kibo's systems.

During Onishi's stay in Japan, he participated in the TKSC open house event on April 18, where he gave three lectures and introduced lSS long-duration missions and astronaut training to the visitors.

At the end of April, Onishi moved to the U.S. and continued training at the NASA JSC.

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Onishi learns the EVA preparation procedure (Photo courtesy of Takuya Onishi) Google+)

Other training covered manipulation of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) for a visiting vehicle, how to use such onboard computer applications as timeline management, and how to repair toilet failure.

Astronauts Wakata and Hoshide attend the technical coordination meeting for KOUNOTORI5

Astronauts Koichi Wakata and Akihiko Hoshide attended the technical coordination meeting for the H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI5 (HTV5) held from April 13-17 at the TKSC.

NASA and JAXA flight controllers mainly attended to meeting to discuss the operational procedures, flight rules, and mission timeline. Precise coordination by NASA and JAXA at the preparation stage is the key to a successful KOUNOTORI5 mission.

For the meeting, as many as 30 people from NASA and JAXA participated. From JAXA, core mission members attended the meeting, as represented by Mayumi Matsuura, the lead HTV5 flight director.

Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide participates in KOUNOTORI testing at the TNSC

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Hoshide performing FCIT (Photo courtesy of JAXA)

Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide attended KOUNOTORI5’s Flight Crew Interface Test (FCIT) at the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC).

The FCIT is conducted from the perspective of experienced astronauts to validate the onboard equipment and ensure that astronauts can perform on orbit operations tasks without any difficulty.

During Hoshide's stay on the ISS as a member of Expedition 32/33 in 2012, he participated in the KOUNOTORI3 mission. During the mission, he engaged in KOUNOTORI3 capture and release operations by using the SSRMS.

During the FCIT, Hoshide confirmed the overall exterior accessibility and safety, mostly for KOUNOTORI5's Exposed Pallet (EP). Onboard astronauts do not normally access the exterior of KOUOTORI. However, confirmation is necessary in the event of an irregularity, such as when an unscheduled EVA becomes necessary if EP fails to be installed in KOUNOTORI's Unpressurized Logistics Carrier (ULC). Hoshide also tested the redesigned HTV Re-supply Racks (HRRs) to be loaded in the Pressurized Logistics Carrier (PLC).

Astronaut Soichi Noguchi attends the executive meeting of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE)

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Noguchi and other participants (Photo courtesy of ASE Facebook)

Currently serving as president of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), an international organization of astronauts around the world, Astronaut Noguchi attended the ASE executive committee held April 20-23 in Stockholm, Sweden.

The executive committee meeting was held in preparation for the upcoming 28th ASE Planetary Congress to be held this September in Stockholm.

Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide participates in a meeting regarding space development and utilization

On April 9, Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide participated in a meeting to discuss space development and utilization held by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

The committee investigates and discusses important matters regarding space development and utilization that will be implemented by MEXT.

Hoshide has been serving as a temporal member of the committee since April 2015.

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