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JAXA Astronaut Activity Report

JAXA Astronaut Activity Report, March, 2016

Last Updated: May 2, 2016

This is the final issue of the JAXA Astronaut Activity Report that began in April 2004. Thank you for your interest and support regarding various articles over many years. The activities of JAXA astronauts will be introduced in part of the ISS/Kibo Monthly News series beginning next month.

Astronaut Kimiya Yui’s mission reporting event in Tokyo

Articles on display at the venue (Credit: JAXA)

Articles on display at the venue (Credit: JAXA)

Part 1: Mission report

In airing the mission highlight video, Yui described his many experiences, such as being launched aboard the Soyuz rocket, using the ISS robotic arm to capture the H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI5, engaging in science activities, daily life in space, the view of Earth from the ISS, and returning to the ground.

Yui specifically acknowledged Japan's high technology through his capture of the H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI5 (HTV5), which carried a full load of cargo including vital replacement parts needed to address a long-term shortage of consumables on the ISS.

Mission reporting event in Tokyo (Credit: JAXA)

Mission reporting event in Tokyo (Credit: JAXA)

He also noted that whenever he spotted a giant typhoon, he felt compelled to warn people about its strength. He also commented on the great joy of sharing a picture of sparkling Mt. Fuji in the morning sun with people on the ground via Twitter.

Yui further introduced his science activities that included the following:

Protein Crystal Growth (JAXA PCG)
Plant circumnutation and its dependence on the gravity response (Plant Rotation)
Assembly and checkout of the Mouse Habitat Unit (MHU)
Initial checkout of the Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF)
Deployment of CubeSats
Preparation of the samples for exposed experiments using the ExHAM2

Part 2: Exclusive interview with Yui

Part Two was proceeded by the moderator interviewing Yui about his mission in order to give the audience a better understanding. Yui smiled as he answered the various questions collected via a website beforehand, and sometimes included untold stories.

When asked about having tweeted with many pictures from space, Yui responded by saying how difficult it was to find free time to take photographs under a demanding minute-to-minute schedule. He revealed that astronauts do make free time to share space pictures with the ground, even though no time is reserved even for a restroom break during business hours, and that they work smartly to stay ahead of schedule, sometimes even doing extra tasks.

The one thing he wanted to say via Twitter concerned the thinness of Earth’s atmosphere. “When viewing Earth from space, you can see clouds below what appears to be a very thin blue layer. I realized that human beings can only live under them, so we must protect our Earth.”

Part 3 Talk session: Toward the advancement and maximization of the fruits of research in Kibo

Talk session (Credit: JAXA)

Talk session (Credit: JAXA)

During the talk session, Yui was joined by NHK news commentator Tetsuya Muroyama (as moderator), JAXA Increment Manager (IM) Takeru Yamagami, and Kazumi Nishijima of Mochida Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., representing the users of Kibo, and discussed why human space activity is necessary and specifically the need for Kibo.

Training of Astronaut Takuya Onishi

Astronaut Takuya Onishi, a long-duration crew member for the ISS Expedition 48/49 mission, is finalizing this training toward his mission.

Onishi and his crewmates simulated a day of operations typically conducted on the ISS according to a determined schedule. In the ISS mockup, the trainees began with the morning meeting with the ground, and then performed such tasks as maintenance. In case any problem occurred, they communicated with the Mission Control Center (MCC) in Houston, and for any task related to an experiment, they consulted with the Payload Operations Center (POC) in Huntsville, Alabama.

In addition, various training programs will continue from Extravehicular Activities to filming and photographing.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Photo equipment used on the ISS (Photo courtesy of Takuya Onishi)

Training using virtual reality apparatus, with Onishi simulating the handling of the International Docking Adapter (IDA) during Extravehicular Activity (Photo Courtesy of Takuya Onishi)

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