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JAXA Astronaut Activity Report

JAXA Astronaut Activity Report, March, 2012

Last Updated: May 22, 2012

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

Astronaut Kanai attended space school and space camp

Kanai answering questions from students at

Kanai answering questions from students at "The 13th Tanegashima Space School 2012" in TNSC. (Credit: JAXA)

Astronaut Kanai returned to Japan at the end of March, and attended "The 13th Tanegashima Space School 2012", held at the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC), and the "Tsukuba Space Camp 2012 TKSC-6", held at the Tsukuba Space Center, (TKSC) as a surprise guest.

Both the Space School and Space Camp were co-hosted by JAXA and Young Astronauts Club (YAC) and intended to deepen participating students' understanding and retain further interest through several days of lectures, a facility tour, and practical learning.

Kanai deepened the exchange with the participating students by answering questions and taking memorial pictures together.

I heard young students' flexible ideas about the concept of Japan's unique spacecraft and new types of space food. Engaging in such discussion with the students was a great inspiration for me.

As a JAXA member, I'll strive to further boost space development so that the next generation of scientists and engineers can optimally exploit their talents.

Astronaut Hoshide continues training for the upcoming ISS expedition mission

Hoshide (center) simulating an SSRMS operation for KOUNOTORI (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Hoshide (center) simulating an SSRMS operation for KOUNOTORI (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Hoshide diving into a pool for EVA training (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Hoshide diving into a pool for EVA training (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Hoshide (left) undergoing a fire drill (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Hoshide (left) undergoing a fire drill (Credit: JAXA/NASA)

Astronaut Hoshide, assigned as a crew member for the ISS Expedition 32/33, continues his training, mainly at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), for his upcoming long-duration stay on the ISS.

Along with NASA astronauts Joseph Acaba (an ISS Expedition 31/32 crew member) and Sunita Williams (an ISS Expedition 32/33 crew member), they received training on the grapple and ungrapple facility of the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), KOUNOTORI using the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) simulator. Under the current plan, KOUNOTORI3 will arrive at the ISS immediately after Astronaut Hoshide commences his stay there.

In the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL), Hoshide and Williams donned training spacesuits and trained in preparation for Extravehicular Activity (EVA) using the ISS mockup (a full-scale training facility). Hoshide and Williams may conduct EVA during their stay and practiced removal and replacement of the Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) on the S0 truss.

As part of the EVA planning and preparation, they confirmed the layout of the necessary equipment and the operation in the Quest Joint Airlock, the primary ingress and egress path for U.S. EVA.

Assuming a fire had occurred in the ISS, Hoshide, Williams, and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko simulated efforts to identify and extinguish the fire in the ISS mockup and confirmed the proper procedure and respective roles with the other crew members.

Astronaut Furukawa held a debriefing session for his ISS expedition mission

Furukawa (right) answering a question from the audience (left: Prof. Junji Terao, Dean of Dept. of Nutrition, Univ. of Tokushima) (Credit: JAXA)

Furukawa (right) answering a question from the audience (left: Prof. Junji Terao, Dean of Dept. of Nutrition, Univ. of Tokushima) (Credit: JAXA)

Astronaut Furukawa returned to Japan in late March and visited the University of Tokushima on March 21, to debrief his ISS expedition mission.

The debriefing included his mission report and the results of medical experiments by the University of Tokushima, including the participation of principal investigators of the experiment themes.

At the opening of the session, Furukawa explained the Japanese Experiment Module, Kibo and an overview of the ISS. Subsequently, Furukawa introduced life on the ISS from the perspective of a medical doctor, introducing "moon face"; a body fluid shift phenomenon that occurs at the beginning of the microgravity stay. Furukawa also reported that his bone density changed little since he started taking anti-osteoporosis drugs (bisphosphonates). Subsequently, showing images on a big screen on stage, Furukawa introduced the main events that happened and were conducted during his mission.

Subsequently, a question and answer session was held. In response to a question about any difficulty he experienced during various training, Furukawa referred to learning the Russian language. "When I was 35 years old and started learning Russian, my goal was to speak fluent and cool Russian." However, once he realized how difficult it would be to learn Russian, his goal became merely to master the necessary Russian required for a mission. "I can't discuss Russian literature, but I have enough conversation skill to communicate in the Soyuz spacecraft" smiling warmly, Furukawa discussed his bittersweet experience.

In answering the question concerning any findings in space, he mentioned the fact that handling goods was problematic due to microgravity, goods could not be put on like on Earth, they all have to be fixed with belts, hooks and loop fasteners on the ISS. Goods fly off if you touch or hit them for any reason.

Prof. Tamaki, Dean of the School of Medicine (left) presented the University's distinguished service award to Furukawa. (Credit: JAXA)

Prof. Tamaki, Dean of the School of Medicine (left) presented the University's distinguished service award to Furukawa. (Credit: JAXA)

After the Q&A session, principal investigators of the University of Tokushima presented their achievements for each space medical experiment.

At the end of the debriefing, Furukawa was presented with the University of Tokushima's distinguished service award for his participation in the joint research with the University of Tokushima, demonstrating the effect of bisphosphonates and also the contribution to the Myo Lab experiment (Cbl-Mediated Protein Ubiquitination Downregulates the Response of Skeletal Muscle Cells to Growth Factors in Space).

In addition to Tokushima prefecture, Furukawa visited Iwate prefecture to hold a debriefing session. In addition, Furukawa also participated in a reporting session for experiments utilizing Kibo's Exposed Facility as well as the Japanese Fiscal Year 2011 assembly of the Kibo utilization forum.

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