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JAXA Astronaut Activity Report

JAXA Astronaut Activity Report, October, 2015

Last Updated: January 25, 2016

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

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

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 the long-duration mission mainly at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in October, and then at the GCTC at the end of the month.

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Onishi donning the EMU in the Airlock (Photo courtesy of Takuya Onishi)

At the JSC, Onishi continued training for Extravehicular Activity (EVA) from last month. Onishi this month practiced the procedure for donning an actual Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) in the Airlock, and then depressurizing the Airlock (a vacuum chamber) and restoring it to the original pressure level.

The training began with a check of health status, followed by Onishi donning cooling underwear (Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment: LCVG) and the EMU, checking for leaks, remaining in that condition for four hours to excrete nitrogen, and then finally depressurized the Airlock. While the pressure of the Airlock is lowered, the internal pressure of the EMU is also lowered to 0.3 atm. For that reason, astronauts breathe pure oxygen, not air while donning the EMU.

In that condition Onishi responded to several irregularities and performed EVA closing procedures, and then returned air to the Airlock.

Onishi and his crewmates training in the Soyuz simulator (Photo courtesy of Takuya Onishi)

Onishi and his crewmates training in the Soyuz simulator (Photo courtesy of Takuya Onishi)

Training in late October at the GCTC covered simulated operation of the Soyuz spacecraft as backup crew for the Expedition 46/47 crew. Onishi and his crewmates proceeded with the simulation according to three divided stages: from preparing to launch to initiating rendezvous with the ISS, rendezvous and docking to the ISS, and undocking from the ISS to return to Earth. The simulation included several scenarios where the trainees would have to deal with trouble. The crew responded to the trouble as per the specified procedures.

Exams for the Soyuz spacecraft will continue toward the final examination in November.

Astronaut Soichi Noguchi attends the 66th International Astronautical Congress

From October 12-16, the 66th International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2015) was held in Jerusalem, Israel with the theme of "Space -- The Gateway for Mankind's Future."

The IAC is hosted by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), and International Institute of Space Law (IISL), and is known as the world's largest space-related event.

Noguchi moderated the plenary session entitled "Fifty Years of Spacewalking -- The Ultimate Human Space Adventure." The panelists included Buzz Aldrin (the lunar module pilot on Apollo 11), Christer Fuglesang (holding the longest spacewalk duration record among ESA astronauts), Michael Lopez-Alegria (holding the longest spacewalk duration record among NASA astronauts), and Sunita Williams (holding the longest spacewalk duration by a woman), and they discussed next-generation spacesuits and other topics of interest.

Noguchi's other activities included participation in the IAF Human Space Flight Committee and an interview with the director of the Israel Space Agency.

Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa's research activity

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On October 6, a kickoff meeting was held for a new research project* headed by Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa.

* Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas: Living in Space

The research project was established based on Furukawa’s career as an astronaut as well as a medical doctor. He assumed that the effects of each kind of stress that astronauts experience on the ISS could be common issues with some specific problems on the ground, and believed an integrated study should be pursued.

In front of over 130 researchers gathered at the meeting, Furukawa stressed the meaning of the research theme in stating that overcoming biological impediments posed the biggest challenge for a prolonged stay in space, and that the successful results of doing so could be applicable to our aging and stressful society on the ground.

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