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Basic Training for International Space Station Astronaut Candidates

Japan's first astronaut training ever conducted

Three new Japanese astronaut candidates were selected for duty aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on February 10, 1999. Until now, all Japanese astronaut training had been conducted by NASA. However, the three astronaut candidates selected this time will receive Basic Training for about one and a half years at mainly Tsukuba Space Center in Japan. This will be the first time for NASDA(currently JAXA) to actually conduct astronaut training.

Basic Training is the first actual training for the Japanese astronaut candidates. After receiving Basic Training, the astronaut candidates will be certified as ISS astronauts. They will then receive Advanced Training and be assigned specific duties.

Based on their duty assignments, they will receive Increment-Specific Training which will finally prepare them for actual duty aboard the ISS. Periods of duty aboard the ISS will be rather long (three to six months). During their duty period, they will operate and maintain various ISS systems, including Kibo, and perform a variety of experiments.

Japanese ISS Astronaut Training procedure
Basic Training:
Learn basic skills and technology necessary for astronauts.
Advanced Training:
General ISS operation training (NASDA will conduct training related to Kibo.)
Increment-Specific Training:
Training related to individual crew member's roles. (NASDA will conduct training related to Kibo.)
Refresher Training:
Review training for maintaining skills of astronauts who have finished all training courses.

Guidelines ensure uniform basic training for each participating country.

The purpose of Basic Training is to enable astronauts to master scientific and engineering knowledge and techniques necessary for ISS crew members. This includes language skills, physical conditioning, and mental attitude. Mastery of these areas will provide the astronauts the necessary skills and knowledge to participate successfully in the subsequent Advanced Training and Increment-Specific Training.

The individual space agencies of countries participating in the ISS program (Japan, the US, Canada, European countries, and Russia) are responsible for providing Basic Training for their own astronauts. NASDA will thus provide the training for the Japanese astronauts. NASDA will also provide Advanced Training and Increment-Specific Training related to Kibo operations to all ISS crew members.

Although the space agency of each country is responsible for providing Basic Training to its own astronauts, if that training is not uniformly implemented, differences in skill and knowledge levels among the astronauts from different countries will make it difficult to conduct the subsequent joint Advanced Training and Increment-Specific Training effectively. To avoid such a situation, an international conference was held to discuss overall ISS training and guidelines covering the necessary ISS training fundamental contents were published. The Basic Training NASDA will provide will be based on these guidelines including Kibo-related knowledge which Japanese astronauts must possess.

NASDA will conduct Japan's Basic Training following this guideline and will add items which Japanese astronauts should be familiar with, such as Kibo-related operations.

Last Updated : Dec. 14, 2001

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