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Basic Training for International Space Station Astronaut Candidate

Lectures and Hands-on Training in a Variety of Fields
JAXA's Basic Training can be broadly broken down into the following four areas :

  1. Necessary general knowledge of space engineering and spacecraft for astronauts (introduction).
  2. Science related knowledge necessary to perform experiments in orbit.
  3. Outline of on-orbit operation of ISS and Kibo systems.
  4. Maintaining and improving skills necessary for astronauts (basic training covering general survival techniques, aircraft pilot training, SCUBA training, language skills, and physical conditioning).

Areas 1 through 3 will be taught primarily by lectures but with some actual practice. Area 4 will be taught primarily by astronaut candidates actually performing or participating in specific tasks. JAXA's Basic Training for astronaut candidates will cover about 230 subjects and require about 1,600 hours of instruction.
Figure.1 is an example of Basic Training Flow.

Figure.1 Basic Training Flow (Example)

1.Introduction, Basic Engineering and Outline of Space Systems

The purpose of this training is to provide general knowledge necessary for Japanese astronauts. Basic engineering knowledge needed in spacecraft system training or in actual operation, and summaries of the Space Shuttle, Soyuz, and H-II rocket will be included. Most of the courses will be taught by JAXA personnel, including Japanese astronauts. Personnel from universities or research institutes will teach specific courses.

Training on Russian spacecraft such as Soyuz will be conducted at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Russia. In order to acquire information for setting up this training plan, astronaut Noguchi investigated GCTC in the summer of 1998 and experienced Russian astronaut training.
Astronaut Noguchi (center) receives Soyuz simulator training at Russia's Astronaut Training Center.


In this area, the astronaut candidates will learn the general principles of Life Sciences, Microgravity Science, Earth Observation, and Space Science for experiments and observations aboard ISS and for the related training. This includes not only receiving lectures, but also actually performing experiments and conducting observations. Lecturers will be those from various JAXA and university research centers.

3.ISS and Kibo Systems

Astronaut candidates will learn outlines of on-orbit ISS system operations and utilization. After completing basic training, astronauts will enter the advanced training and increment-specific training phases (see the April article) where they will receive actual ISS system operation and utilization training using training facilities. They will also conduct training to master operating equipment and performing experiments on orbit. The training will also provide Japanese astronaut candidates as much knowledge of Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo) systems as possible.

4.Basic Ability Training

Weightless simulation test in the Weightless Environment Testing System (WETS).
Basic Ability Training means training other than described above and includes maintaining and improving techniques and abilities necessary for astronauts and includes a variety of fields. For example, it includes training in English, the official language used during their stays at ISS. They also receive instruction in the Russian language for the training which will be conducted in Russia. These two languages training represents one-fourth of the total Basic Training (400 hours in total).

It is important for astronauts to maintain a good physical condition, so they will also learn to manage their own health and provide first aid. They will also undergo physical training regularly three times a week.

Astronauts will also receive "Crew Resource Management" training in which pilots learn to judge conditions in the cockpit, resolve problems, and make decisions. They will also be trained in photographic techniques for taking photographs from orbit, media relations training, radio communications in English, and pilot training.

There is also specialized training for astronauts. This includes survival training, EVA training, and hyperbaric (altitude) chamber training. Survival training is necessary in case of an emergency and they must return from space. It teaches techniques to survive in remote locations both on land and in the sea. EVA covers basic operations for activities outside the ISS. For this purpose, astronauts don a special "space suit" and train in a simulated weightless environment underwater (see Fig. 2). Hyperbaric (altitude) chamber training is provided in case astronauts experience a depressurization or a low-pressure environment.

Acquiring Basic Techniques of Manned Space Development through and with the Astronauts

The above astronaut training is a unique field in techniques needed for manned space development. This basic training that is actually being conducted by JAXA for the first time is very significant for advancing Japanese space development. Furthermore, by training Japanese astronaut candidates in Japan, Japan will accumulate training experience and Japanese people will feel closer to the astronauts because they will be training with them.

However, because there are fewer astronaut trainees in JAXA than in NASA, the astronauts in Japan will have fewer opportunities to encourage and support each other and to acquire knowledge of various fields. For this purpose, Japanese astronauts training in Japan should mingle with senior Japanese astronauts training in NASA Houston as much as possible and with astronauts of other countries. Furthermore, JAXA hopes to develop Japanese astronauts with wide perspectives. In this way, the basic training in Japan will be a very significant means of accumulating experience for trainers also.

Basic Training Topics
Field Content Time
Introduction Orientation 37
Outline of Training Plan 5
Present Space Activity Status And Framework 6
Space Development of the World 7
Space Development of Japan 3
Facility Tours 105
Basic Engineering (outlines) Aerospace Engineering 10
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 18
Computers 17
Space Systems Utilization and Outlines Space Shuttle 10
Russian Spacecraft and Rockets 39
Arian 1
H-II 3
ISS and Kibo Systems ISS Utilization 9
ISS Systems 73
Kibo Systems and utilization training 92
Science Space Science Study 12
Life Science 71
Microgravity Science 39
Earth and Space Observation 40
Basic Ability Training General Survival Training 40
Swimming 5
Psychological Support Program 31
Health Management 24
Physical Training 104
Zero-gravity Simulation(Parabolic flight in jet aircraft) 8
Hyperbaric (altitude) Chamber 27
WETS and EVA Training (Underwater training wearing modified space suit for EVA activities) 39
Aircraft Training 240
Photography 24
English 200
Russian 200
Japanese Media Relations 17
English Media Relations 8

Last Updated : May. 20, 1999

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