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Kibo-RPC News: JAXA briefed with NASA astronauts about the 1st Kibo-RPC

Last Updated: February 14, 2020

The 1st Kibo-RPC on-orbit event is scheduled for September 2020. The winners of the Preliminary Round in each country can participate in the final round in the on-orbit event, which will be connected with the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center. As part of the preparation for Kibo-RPC, JAXA gave an overview of Kibo-RPC to two NASA astronauts, Astronaut Christopher John Cassidy and Astronaut Stephen Bowen.

Astronaut Cassidy is a veteran astronaut who was selected by NASA in 2004 and has participated in two space flights and was a mission specialist to deliver the Japanese Experiment Module ‐ Exposed Facility (JEM‐EF) and the Experiment Logistics Module Exposed Section (ELM‐ES) to the station. He will serve as part of the prime crew to fly with Soyuz MS-16 and will be assigned to the main cast of the 1st Kibo-RPC when the final round takes place in orbit in September 2020.

Astronaut Bowen was the first submarine officer to be selected as an astronaut by NASA. He is an experienced astronaut who has made three space flights. He has logged more than 40 days in space including 47 hours and 18 minutes in seven spacewalks. He is a backup crew member of Soyuz MS-16.

Fig 1. Astronaut Christopher John Cassidy (Left) and Astronaut Stephen Bowen (Right) (Credit: JAXA)

In this briefing, JAXA emphasized the attachment and handling of printed materials used in the event.

As printed materials are read by Astrobee's cameras or irradiated by a laser pointer, if the position of the material is inadequate, it will affect the event. Therefore accuracy is important. JAXA asked the crew if there were any concerns with the planning. The crew responded with a few suggestions which will be incorporated into the procedure.

Next, JAXA explained the precautions for Astrobee in terms of event operation. It is important not to touch the recognized areas of Astrobee, and not to interfere with it's movements and functions as this may lead to aborting or re-starting.

We had some other discussions and confirmations to make the event successful. The two astronauts also contributed to very lively discussions and provided meaningful opinions for the success of this event.

Fig 2. Briefing at Tsukuba Space Center (Credit: JAXA)

Everyone involved in this project is looking forward to the day Astronauts Cassidy or Astronaut Bowen performs the on-orbit event in September.

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