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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Japanese Astronaut Flying In Russian Spacecraft

Here's some cool news for fans of Japan's space exploration.

The launch date for Japanese astronaut Hoshide Akihiko (surname first, but you can call him Aki) aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft for eventual destination aboard the ISS (International Space Station) has been set for July 15, 2012.

The spacecraft - dubbed 31S/TMA-05M, will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Astronaut Hoshide will stay at the ISS as part of the space program designated as an Expedition 32/33 crew member for about four months to perform scientific experiments using the space environment, ISS system operation, and robotics operation. 

Born in December 28, 1968 in the Setagaya district of Tokyo, he apparently grew up in New Jersey, USA - he has already flown one mission to the ISS aboard STS-124 as the payload commander and has already enjoyed some 13 days, 18 hours, 13 minutes and seven seconds in space. For your information, STS stands for the Space Transportation System, also known as the space shuttle.

According to his biography on the NASA website, Hoshide enjoys flying, rugby football, swimming, snow skiing, and traveling - the latter is something he will be doing a hell of a lot of come this summer

Hoshide graduated from the United World College of South-East Asia, Singapore, in 1987; received a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Keio University in 1992, and a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering in 1997.

As for his space career, he joined the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) in 1992, and for two years worked as a member of its Nagoya Office involved in the development of the H-II launch vehicle.

Between 1994 to 1999, he worked as an astronaut support engineer for the NASDA Astronaut Office, supporting the development of the astronaut training program and the evaluation of crew interface designs. He also supported astronaut Koichi Wakata during his training and mission on STS-72.

In February 1999, Hoshide was selected by NASDA - now known as JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) as one of three Japanese astronaut candidates for the International Space Station.

He began participating in the ISS Astronaut Basic Training program in April 1999 and was certified as an astronaut in January 2001. He then took ISS Advanced Training, as was supporting the development of the hardware and operation of the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” and the H-IIA Transfer Vehicle (HTV).

In May 2004, he completed Soyuz-TMA Flight Engineer-1 training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC), Star City, Russia.

He then went to work at  the Johnson Space Center in May 2004, and in February of 2006, he completed Astronaut Candidate Training that included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in Shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, T-38 flight training, and water and wilderness survival training.

Completion of this initial training qualified him for various technical assignments within the Astronaut Office, and he has worked as a capsule communicator CAPCOM in Mission Control Center for the ISS and the Space Shuttle, as well as supported technical coordination for Kibo and HTV. He completed his first space flight on STS-124 in 2008

Aboard the STS-124 Discovery (May 31 to June 14, 2008) - the 123rd Space Shuttle flight, and the 26th Shuttle flight to the International Space Station, the STS-124 docked with the ISS on June 2, 2008 to deliver the Japanese Experiment Module-Pressurized Module (JEM-PM) and the Japanese Remote Manipulator System.

The shuttle crew also delivered the 37-foot (11-meter) Kibo lab (more on this tomorrow!), relocated its rooftop storage room, performed three spacewalks required to maintain the station and primed the new Japanese module and its robotic arm for work during nine docked days at the orbiting laboratory.

Hoshide worked primarily on the outfitting, activation, and reconfiguration of the Kibo module, as well as deploying the Kibo robotic arm from its launch configuration and conducting initial checkout.

He also operated the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) to install the Kibo Module to the ISS. The STS-124 mission was completed in 218 orbits, traveling 5,735.643 miles in 13 days, 18 hours, 13 minutes and seven seconds.

Hoshide is assigned and in training as one of the long duration crew member for Expedition 32/33.

Files compiled by Andrew Joseph


  1. Well, okay, but you know that the Japanese government is paying tens of millions of dollars for this vacation to space. Guess who pays for that? I wonder what the benefit is to Japanese society of this guy going up into space? Especially when we are so heavily in debt?

  2. Ahh... the age old conundrum of bread before circuses. What is the benefit? No idea... However, as noted in a previous blog I wrote about the Space instruments (which sounds stupid to me), benefits do arise for mankind. Good ones.
    Debt? Dude... I am so far in debt it's not even funny - and yet I survive to go further in debt another day. I have no idea why I even bother doing anything most days... except to hope.
    I think that's what things like the space program give people... hope.
    I know as well as you do that you can't eat hope... but it represents the grander scheme of things of what man can accomplish - and working with other nations - without the need for hate or war. Just working together to explore, to seek out, to learn.
    I have no idea what they are working on up there - but I hope it's for something that will better the condition of mankind here on Earth.
    But Mike... you know better than I... how has this debt affected you and your family personally?
    I know for myself, I've lost my house and can barely pay the debt back on a monthly basis. I'm almost at the point where I am thinking about declaring bankruptcy and starting again (in 7 years), but I won't until I must. I never give up and hope there is a way out of this - like my wife finishing school and getting a decent job so that we can spend the next two years paying off debt and saving money for a downpayment on a house so we can go back further into debt.
    Man... I wish I was in outer space.