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JAXA Astronaut Activity Report

JAXA Astronaut Activity Report, May, 2015

Last Updated: July 31, 2015

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

Astronaut Kimiya Yui undergoes final qualification exams in Russia for a long-duration ISS mission

Yui and his crewmates Kononenko and Lindgren taking a qualification exam for the Russian segment (Credit: JAXA/GCTC)

The trio undergoes a qualification exam for the Soyuz spacecraft (Credit: JAXA/NASA/Bill Ingalls)

On May 6 and 7, Astronaut Kimiya Yui, a crew member for the ISS Expedition 44/45 mission, underwent qualification exams with his crewmates Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and Astronaut Kjell Lindgren at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Russia.

On the first day of the qualification exams, an exam for the ISS Russian segment was held. In the mockup of the Russian segment, the trio responded to anomalies that included a communication blackout on the central computer that controls the systems of the Russian segment, and an outbreak of fire inside the segment.

On the second day of the exams, the examinees boarded the simulator of the Soyuz spacecraft and responded to irregularities on the onboard computer systems.

For each exam, they all cooperated to address the irregularities encountered.

Astronaut Takuya Onishi continues training for the ISS long-duration stay

Astronaut Takuya Onishi, assigned as a crew member for the Expedition 48/49 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), underwent training for overall ISS operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC).

During the training for Extravehicular Activity (EVA), Onishi simulated maintenance operations for exposed equipment installed on the exterior of the ISS in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL), which is a large pool containing a submerged full-scale ISS mockup.

Alongside Astronaut Robert Kimbrough of NASA, Onishi donned a submersible Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), dived into the NBL pool, and then practiced maintenance operations for the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) and the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ). During the training, a case was simulated where Onishi's EVA partner became incapacitated. Onishi then took the partner back inside.

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Onishi confirming QD connection and disconnection (Photo courtesy of Takuya Onishi Google+)

Other EVA training covered EMU system proficiency training, EMU parts exchange procedures, and connecting and disconnecting the Quick Disconnect (QD), a connector of outboard fluid pipe.

For medical training, Onishi practiced drawing blood. Such training is necessary as onboard astronauts draw their own blood. For training regarding an eye experiment called Ocular Health, Onishi checked the procedure for ultrascanning his eyes. This research is conducted because some astronauts staying aboard the ISS for a long time have experienced changes in their eyesight.

Other training included the procedure for testing water quality that is regularly conducted on the ISS.

Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa participates in the simulation of a long-term mission

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Furukawa and other participants pose for a photo in front of the HERA (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

From May 4-7, Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa participated in the simulation of a long-duration mission at a facility called the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) at NASA’s JSC.

The HERA is a habitat unit used to accommodate up to four people, featuring 148 m3 of total operating room, an airlock, a hygiene module, exercise devices, and sleeping quarters. This training is intended to improve the leadership, teamwork, and self-management skills of astronauts by simulating a long-duration mission in a facility similar to the ISS.

Furukawa participated with Astronauts Michael Hopkins and Jannet Eps of NASA, and Jeremy Hansen of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

In simulating a stay on the ISS, they worked on maintenance, experiments, and medical operations, took photographs, and engaged in public affairs activities as per the predetermined schedule. Other simulation included an unscheduled EVA to service failed outboard hardware using the NBL pool.

Astronaut Soichi Noguchi attends a ceremony marking the start of the UAE Space Agency

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Noguchi making a speech at the GSSF (Credit: JAXA)

As president of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), Astronaut Soichi Noguchi attended a ceremony marking the start of the Space Agency of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from May 25-27 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

In July 2014, the UAE established its space agency to put an unmanned probe in orbit around Mars by 2021.

As president of the ASE, Noguchi made presentations at the Global Space & Satellite Forum for space and satellite industries held on May 26 and 27.

During his stay in the UAE, Noguchi also lectured at a Japanese school in Abu Dhabi and visited Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research, where he communicated with students majoring in aerospace and aeronautics, and with Nippon Club members.

Astronaut Norishige Kanai delivers a lecture at a Japanese language supplementary school

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Kanai delivering a lecture (Credit: JAXA)

On May 16, Astronaut Norishige Kanai appeared at the Japanese language supplementary school in Houston, Texas.

Given his career as a doctor, Kanai lectured about space medicine. He introduced research on space medicine, mainly about how the space environment affects the human body.

He explained the changes experienced through a stay in space, such as changes in eyesight, muscle atrophy, and bone loss, and then introduced various experiments conducted on the ISS to clarify the causes of such changes. The results of such experiments will hopefully contribute not only to maintaining the health of astronauts but also to improving medicine on the ground, as many phenomena affecting the human body in space resemble aging experienced on the ground.

He also lectured about space radiation, one aspect of the space environment. Kanai emphasized that accurate measurements of the radiation dose on the ISS are critical, and how Japanese PADLES (Passive Dosimeter for Life science Experiments in Space) plays an important role in monitoring the radiation dose on the ISS.

During the Q&A session at the end, Kanai answered many questions from the audience.

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