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JAXA Astronaut Activity Report

JAXA Astronaut Activity Report, September 2011

Last Updated: November 28, 2011

This is JAXA's Japanese astronaut primary activity report for September, 2011.

Astronaut Kanai participates in the ESA's CAVES training

Kanai (leftmost) at the CAVES training

Kanai (leftmost) at the CAVES training (Credit: JAXA/ESA)

Astronaut Kanai, together with astronauts from NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian cosmonaut, participated in the CAVES mission organized by the ESA.

CAVES is a training course which aims to promote the self-management and cooperation ability required for a long duration stay in space.

Kanai and the other four participants co-habited for six days in darkness, with no clue to the passage of time without the sun.

During the training course, they accomplished tasks just like those of the astronauts on the ISS, communicated with the support team outside the cave twice a day, checked the status and upcoming plans, updated a map of the caves, took photographs, and obtained samples for Geology and Microbiology.

Mission accomplished: cave crew returns to Earth(ESA's website)

I participated in a training course carried out on the Island of Sardinia in Italy. During the 6-day mission, we looked for unexplored caves and updated the map, took Geography samples, and obtained scientific data such as the temperature, humidity, wind force, and wind direction in the cave.

Our everyday conversation was not limited to English. Our training had an international flavor using Italian, Russian, and Japanese words.

Upon completing the training, when we emerged from the dark cave, I was overwhelmed by the dazzling sunlight and strong smells of trees and atmosphere. Everything looked strange as if we had come back here from another world.

Astronaut Hoshide continues training for the ISS Expedition Mission

Astronaut Hoshide, assigned as an International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 32/33 crew member, continues training for his upcoming long duration stay.

Photo:Hoshide performed a fit-check of the EMU

Hoshide performed a fit-check of the EMU (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

In the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), Hoshide performed a fit-check of the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) and trained via spacewalk activities and operations of the EMU using a vacuum chamber called the Space Station Airlock Test Article (SSATA), along with NASA Astronaut Sunita Williams, one of his fellow crew members for the upcoming mission.

He also received training through an experiment using NASA's human research facility, which evaluates the use of high intensity, low volume exercise training to minimize loss of muscle, bone, and cardiovascular function. He also learned how to check to determine cardiac atrophy in ISS crewmembers during the long duration mission. These experiments will help maintain health and minimize the effects on cardiovascular function during a long duration mission.

In addition, he manipulated the simulated Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS).

Hoshide (center) and Petit (right) learn about the JEM airlock operations

Hoshide (center) and Petit (right) learn about the JEM Airlock operations (Credit: JAXA)

Hoshide (left) and Petit (right) examine a cartridge used for the Hicari Experiment

Hoshide (left) and Petit (right) examine a cartridge used for the Hicari Experiment (Credit: JAXA)

Hoshide is also one of the backup crew members for the Expedition 31 mission. In late September, Hoshide joined Donald Petit, a NASA astronaut and one of the Expedition 31 mission crew members, for a training session in Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC) regarding the systems of Kibo, the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) and the experiments to be performed in Kibo.

They trained the JEM Airlock operations using a mockup (a full-scale training equipment) and manipulated Kibo's Remote Manipulator System (RMS) using the simulator.

They learned each overview of the experiments and the actual proceedings of 'Growth of Homogeneous SiGe Crystals in Microgravity by the TLZ Method (Hicari)' to be performed in the Gradient Heating Furnace (GHF) and 'Chaos, Turbulence and its Transition Process in Marangoni Convection (Marangoni Exp)' to be performed in the Fluid Physics Experiment Facility (FPEF).

They also learned how to use the peripheral equipment of the Chamber Combustion Experiment (CCE) installed in the Multi-purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR).

Astronauts Wakata and Noguchi train in Russia

Wakata (center) and Noguchi (right) listen to the explanation about Oran Spacesuits

Wakata (center) and Noguchi (right) listen to the explanation about Oran Spacesuits (Credit: JAXA/GCTC)

Astronaut Wakata, assigned as an International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 38/39 crew member, participated in a training session for the Russian spacewalk, the Soyuz TMA-M, the new model which made its inaugural flight on in October 2010, and the Russian modules of the ISS.

Astronaut Noguchi joined Wakata for the Russian spacewalk training. They reviewed the equipment and the spacesuit settings, and also confirmed the systems of the airlock, which is the doorway for spacewalks. They simulated the spacewalks and learned the basic operations of the airlock, donning Oran training spacesuits by setting the atmospheric pressure to 0.4, which is same as for actual spacewalks.

Wakata learned the control system for Soyuz TMA-M spacecraft and the propulsion and docking systems through lectures and simulators. In addition to refresher training on the thermal control system, the power supply system, and the environmental control and life support system, he confirmed the potable water supply equipment and preparation equipment, such as the food warmer and the Russian toilet system.

The 24th Association of Space Explorers (ASE) Planetary Congress

Astronauts Mukai, Wakata, and Noguchi attended the 24th Association of Space Explorers (ASE) Planetary Congress held in Moscow, Russia, from September 5-9, 2011.

The 24th ASE Planetary Congress was organized under the theme "He Invited Us All to Space", celebrating half a century since Yuri Gagarin's first human flight into space, and 73 astronauts from 19 countries participated in the congress.

During the session entitled "In the Footsteps of Gagarin", the early human space exploration plans were briefly reviewed such as Russia's early space exploration plan, NASA's Apollo program missions, and The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Further, benefits of the ISS, that has been maintained and developed under global cooperation, and the contribution of space shuttle programs having ended this year were also discussed.

In the session forecasting natural disasters using space-based assets, Mukai introduced the effectiveness of data acquired by the Japanese satellite and noted the usefulness of remote sensing technology of the Japanese satellite on a global level for earth observations and environmental monitoring.

During the session entitled the "International Space Programs Review", contributions to space exploration from each space agency were presented. Wakata described Japan's contribution to the ISS, including KOUNOTORI (HTV) and the plan for HTV-R utilization. He also discussed Japanese remote sensing technologies and the benefits of such systems in characterizing and mitigating natural disasters, such as the tsunami experienced in the Great East Japan Earthquake.

On the final day of the congress, Noguchi proposed the development of an ASE chapter in Asia, which was welcomed by the members.

Mukai participates in a health enhancement event

Mukai responds to questions from the audience

Mukai responds to questions from the audience (Credit: JAXA)

Astronaut Mukai participated in the communication event with Astronaut Furukawa entitled "Live under gravity -Consider health by talking with an astronaut-"

The event was held to promote health in the elderly and prevent them from becoming bedridden by applying medical knowledge e.g. on exercise methods and a food control system acquired through a long duration stay on the ISS

Mukai served as an MC during the communication event with Furukawa. Following this event, she responded to questions from participating care and health enhancement groups, discussing the knowledge acquired through various forms of medical research such as the medical phenomena caused by a unique environment in space.

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