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Interview to Astronaut Doi
Preflight Interview October 6, 1997 August 1, 1997

time: August 1, 1997
place: Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL), NASA Johnson Space Center

1) What kind of training are you doing now?
Mainly simulation training for the Space Shuttle landing, training for SPARTAN rendezvous, material science experiment training and EVA training conducted here at NBL. It's all very demanding, but I am enjoying the challenge.

2) How much of your training is dedicated for EVA?
About half of my schedule is EVA related training.

3) How important is the training conducted at NBL?
I'm really putting a lot of effort into this training. I'm learning to use the various tools for EVA, including the EVA crane.

EVA Training at NBL
QT MOVIE[1m28s:1,092KB]
4) Why is this training done at NBL?
The EVA mission for STS-87 is to evaluate these EVA tools, but only about 75% of the EVA procedure has been determined. It's not fixed yet. That's because we need to figure out how we can make the EVA procedure most efficient through the training at NBL.

5) How long have you trained here?
I've done training here three times, for a total of 20 hours. I still have about 40 to 50 hours to go. We've also used another pool at Johnson Space Center for about 15 hours.

6) Tell us about the EVA training at NBL. Is it tough?
The real EVA lasts for 6.5 hours. The simulated training is six consecutive hours; almost like a marathon. Both physically and mentally, it's very tough. You have to learn how the space suit moves, and this requires a lot of endurance.

7) What is your most important role in this mission?
EVA is most important, and landing operations is second.

8) What is your role during landing operation?
The commander and the pilot has their own responsibilities, but my role is to make sure that the landing operation as a whole is organized.

9) Will you have time to relax in the Space Shuttle?
According to the latest time line, no, but I'm hoping to make some time for myself by doing my job efficiently.

10) Do you have any plans for your free time?

I am very fond of astronomy, so I'm looking forward to observing the stars using the high performance binocular aboard the Shuttle.

11) You are the first Japanese astronaut to perform a spacewalk. Tell us how you feel.
I feel very fortunate. EVA technology is essential for the assembly of the International Space Station, so other Japanese astronauts will do EVA in the future. I hope that my experience from this mission will to contribute to the Japanese manned space program.

12) Did Astronaut Winston Scott give you any advice for your first EVA?
He is a very calm man, has a tremendous amount of stamina and knows a lot about technical issues. He's a great example, and I am trying to learn as much as I can from him.

13) Will the temperature change during EVA?
The temperature of the surface of the space suit will change, but this will be controlled to have no effect to the inner side of the space suit. During the EVA, we will go through five day time and night time, so the light will change a lot.

14) Will you have time to savor your experience during EVA?
If I can finish my task early, I will have time for myself while waiting for Winston to finish his task.

15) How does the space suit feel on you?
You can't even scratch your nose if it gets itchy. It would be nice if it was more movable. You also feel very isolated in there.

16) Do you feel afraid to step outside of the Shuttle?
No. The real EVA and the training here has the same hazards, but I do not feel any danger. I am trying to focus on learning the functions of the space suit.

17) What do you look forward to your spacewalk?
You can feel the vastness of space, a 360 degree panorama. I'm looking forward to a totally new experience.

18) What made you interested in space?
When I was a small child, my friend taught me how to find the black spots on the sun. Then in junior high, I bought a telescope and started to watch the stars. In 1971, I observed the great approach of Mars and the M13 star cluster. I still remember the brightness of this cluster. It was around this time that I was inspired by the wonder of space.

19) Is there any word that inspired you?
Before I joined NASDA, I was a researcher at NASA Lewis Research Center. I remember a plaque on the wall there that said, "Benefit for All Mankind". Although NASA is a US government organization, the US space program is not only for their country but for everyone on Earth. I was very impressed by this.

20) Could you express the twelve years until your first flight in a line graph?
It was very high in 1985 when I was selected by NASDA as an astronaut candidate, and then plummeted in the 1986 Challenger accident. It rose in 1988 when the Space Shuttle program was resumed, and reached the highest point in 1992, Dr. Mohri's first shuttle mission.
From then until I was assigned to STS-87, there was a time when my outlook seemed fuzzy, but now I feel very focused.

21) Looking back, what was those 12 years to you?
A lot of things happened during these years, but now it seems so short. I was very happy and content to involved in the Japanese space program.

22) Did you think of resigning after the Challenger accident?
No. Going to space was my dream, and that's why I studied rocket engineering.

23) What made you keep up your dream?
There are many reasons, one of them being that I was able to feel the same awe and interest in space since I was a child. Also, the support from my wife and NASDA helped me throughout these years.

24) About your 12 year wait...
Astronauts have various backgrounds, but they are all determined to use their skills for the space program. Being an astronaut requires a lot of patience. I was excited to watch my colleges fly into space, because I knew that someday my turn will come. I will do my best for STS-87, and I would also like to work for the International Space Station. The space program is entering a very exciting era, and I feel that it was worth the wait.

25) Are you interested in Mars?
Yes. It's the nearest planet to the Earth, and there are possibilities that life has existed on Mars. Humans will probably learn to live in space on the lunar base, and then go on to Mars.

26) Tell us about the menu on Colombia.
Everybody seemed to like Japanese curry and rice, so I'm bringing some on board.

Mission Patch
27) What is your aspiration for this mission?
This mission is a very exciting one. As you can see in the STS-87 mission patch, the shuttle is a what brings the Earth and space together, and the flame represents the SPARTAN mission, while the whole patch is in the shape of the space suit helmet. I also feel very obliged to be the first Japanese astronaut to conduct an EVA.

28) What is your schedule until launch?
From the middle of August, EVA training will start full-scale, and in September and October we will have five Joint Integrated Simulation (JIS) tests. In November, we will review all of the training, and then go to Kennedy Space Center three days before launch.

Last Updated : October 29, 1997

| Profile | Interview | Astronaut Doi ready for EVA |
| Astronaut Doi's schedule until Launch | Message to Astronaut Doi |
| Today's activity of astronaut Doi | Astronaut Doi's Status Report |

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