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.
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