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JAXA Astronaut Activity Report

JAXA Astronaut Activity Report, January 2012

Last Updated: March 21, 2012

This is JAXA's Japanese astronaut primary activity report for January, 2012.

Astronauts Wakata and Noguchi undergo EVA training in Russia

Wakata (left) and Noguchi (right) pose with an instructor of the GCTC before the training (Credit:JAXA/GCTC)

Wakata (left) and Noguchi (right) pose with an instructor of the GCTC before the training (Credit:JAXA/GCTC)

Wakata starts to wear an Orlan space suit in preparation for EVA training (Credit:JAXA/GCTC)

Wakata starts to wear an Orlan space suit in preparation for EVA training (Credit:JAXA/GCTC)

Astronaut Wakata, a crewman for the upcoming ISS Expedition 38 and 39 missions, received training for the Russian Extravehicular Activity (EVA), along with Astronaut Noguchi at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Russia.

There are two kinds of EVA conducted on the ISS, as directed by the U.S. and Russia. For EVA directed by the U.S., members board the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) and exit into space from the Quest Joint Airlock, while Russian EVA members wear Orlan space suits when entering and exiting the Pirs Docking Compartment (DC-1).

Prior to training in which a microgravity environment with the buoyancy of water is simulated, Wakata and Noguchi prepared for EVA training over several days. With explanations given by an instructor at the GCTC, they reviewed the flow of training and safety, basic EVA procedures, the functions of Orlan space suits, and EVA tools. They also practiced scuba diving as required for EVA simulation.

During the training, they wore Oran training space suits for underwater activities and dived into a pool containing a submerged mockup of the Russian segment of the ISS.

Wakata (forefront right) and Noguchi (forefront left) train for EVA (Credit: JAXA/GCTC)

Wakata (forefront right) and Noguchi (forefront left) train for EVA (Credit: JAXA/GCTC)

Wakata and Noguchi practiced the basic movements required for EVA that included opening the hatch of Pirs and exiting outside the ISS, moving along handrails while using Russian tether protocol, and carrying and using EVA tools.

They were also trained in preparation for contingency situations, such as taking an incapacitated EVA partner back to Pirs, and using the Zvezda's transfer compartment instead of Pirs in case a leak occurs on Pirs.

In addition to EVA training, Wakata received training on the system and operations of the Russian segment and Soyuz spacecraft. Wakata reviewed the Zvezda's hardware control system (called SUBA), its docking system, and fire detection/suppression system. As for the Soyuz spacecraft, Wakata received training on its spacecraft structure and overall onboard hardware, including lectures and training on simulated motion control and the navigation system.Wakata also confirmed how to use hygiene items in the Russian segment. During the series of training sessions held for the Soyuz spacecraft, Astronaut Kanai also participated in some of the training.

It's been 14 years since I last received Russian EVA training. I was very impressed by how much its functions have evolved.

As is the case with the Soyuz spacecraft, Russian space development technology remains apparently unchanged, but actually they smoothly incorporate the latest technology.

I'd like to always catch up with the newest spacecraft technology.

Astronaut Kanai participates in Russia's survival training

Kanai (right) poses with other participants in survival training (Credit: JAXA: GCTC)

Kanai (right) poses with other participants in survival training (Credit: JAXA/GCTC)

Astronaut Kanai visited Russia from mid-January and received training on the Russian segment and Soyuz spacecraft at the GCTC. Kanai also participated in survival training held in the suburbs of Moscow, together with a Russian cosmonaut candidate and an astronaut of the Canadian Space Agency.

Under an extremely cold environment with subzero temperatures, the training was held over a period of three days and two nights, on the assumption that the Soyuz spacecraft made an emergency landing in a forest. The purpose of this training is to learn how to survive and experience mental and physical stress, in the event that the Soyuz spacecraft is forced to make an emergency landing at an unpredictable point, possibly requiring two or three days to conduct search and rescue operations.

With an ignited smoke candle, Kanai gives a signal to the rescue unit (Credit: JAXA/GCTC).

With an ignited smoke candle, Kanai gives a signal to the rescue unit (Credit: JAXA/GCTC)

While maintaining contact with the rescue unit by using a communication device, Kanai and the other participants applied pre-learned knowledge and skills to survive three days of outdoor training. They built a shelter and made fire by fully utilizing a survival kit containing water, food, first-aid medicines, a radio, smoke candles, a cutting tool, matches, and other survival items stored in the descent module.The training was conducted under the assumption that one crewman had broken a leg. The participants thus had to deal with this situation.

Astronaut Yui begins intensive Russian language program

Beginning in mid-January, Astronaut Yui enrolled in an intensive Russian language program to enhance his Russian language ability. During his stay in Russia lasting a month and a half, Yui will study and learn Russian grammar, practice daily conversation, and become acquainted with how the Russian people think in real life by participating in cultural activities. This training is intended to prepare for smooth communication and collaboration with Russian cosmonauts on future ISS expedition missions.

Astronaut Furukawa's homecoming visit to Japan after returning to Earth from the ISS

Astronaut Furukawa visited Japan for the first time after returning to Earth from the ISS, and homecoming events were held at several locations in Japan.

On January 16, Furukawa participated in the homecoming debriefing held by JAXA in Shibuya, Tokyo, together with his crewmates, NASA astronaut Michael Fossum and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, and reported on onboard activities by showing videos and photos taken from or onboard the ISS.

Homecoming event in Furukawa's hometown of Yokohama (Credit: JAXA)

Homecoming event in Furukawa's hometown of Yokohama (Credit: JAXA)

This debriefing featured three JAXA experiments conducted on life sciences by Furukawa. The two other researchers involved in the experiments were also invited to present an overview of the experiments and achievements. A panel discussion was then held among the three astronauts and three researchers. Furukawa discussed topics from a doctor's point of view.

Furukawa also participated in homecoming events held in his hometown of Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture, and in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture.

The three astronauts visited the Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC) and had a debriefing with those involved in the mission, discussing the achievements and lessons learned from the long-duration mission, so as to make future missions involving JAXA astronauts even more beneficial.

Astronaut Hoshide conducting training on the J-SSOD

J-SSOD makes its public debut (Credit: JAXA)

J-SSOD makes its public debut (Credit: JAXA)

Hoshide speaks at a press conference (Credit: JAXA)

Hoshide speaks at a press conference (Credit: JAXA)

Astronaut Hoshide, assigned to the ISS Expedition 32 and 33 missions, returned to Japan at the end of January and received training on the JEM-Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) at the TKSC.

During the upcoming ISS long-duration mission, Hoshide will demonstrate CubeSats deployment from the J-SSOD. He will also set up the J-SSOD and transfer it into space from the Kibo airlock.

The J-SSOD is being prepared for launch at the TKSC. A press release was made on January 25, when Hoshide gave an overview of the J-SSOD demonstration mission and CubeSats deployment to members of the news media. After the press release, Hoshide held a press conference, where he reported on his recent training and mentioned his aspirations for the mission in response to questions.

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