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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Japanese Astronaut on International Space Station

Japanese astronaut flight engineer 1 Onishi Takuya (surname first, 大西 卓哉) is currently serving aboard the ISS (International Space Station), after a Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying three astronauts, including himself docked on July 9, 2016.

Onishi, 40, along with Russian astronaut Anatoly Ivanishin, the 47-year-old commander of Soyuz, and flight engineer 2 Kathleen Rubins, 37 (the 60th woman to fly in space), from the U.S. are expected to stay on the ISS for about four months.

Upon arrival, the three were greeted and hugged by astronauts who had been staying in the ISS: Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos, Tim Kopra of NASA and Tim Peake of the European Space Agency, who had arrived there after a December 15, 2015 launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Onishi and his crew mates had also lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 7, 2016.
An interesting note is that Onishi’s spacecraft was the maiden voyage for the Soyuz MS, an upgraded version of the Soyuz series.

Manufactured by RKK Energia, the Soyuz MS-01 flew the 130th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft transporting Expedition 48.

The initial flight of the new type of Soyuz was to have launched on June 6, 2016, but it was scrubbed after discovering flaws in the control system that could affect the docking to the ISS—Obviously, those flaws were corrected.

Soyuz MS-01 crew patch The Soyuz MS-01 patch introduces the latest modification of the Soyuz spacecraft, in service for nearly 50 years. The ship is shown approaching the International Space Station, ready to deliver a new crew and start another expedition on the orbital facility. The number of the ship is depicted in bold characters to emphasize a new beginning: one that might one day lead to a mission to Mars, the planet subtly hiding behind the zero.

As for Onishi, he was born in Nerima, Tokyo, Japan. He graduated from Seiko High School in Yokohama in 1994 and received a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Aeronautical and Space
Engineering from the University of Tokyo in 1998.

He joined All Nippon Airways (ANA) in 1998 and was assigned to the Passenger Service Department, Haneda airport, Tokyo, where he was a check-in agent and assisted disabled people in boarding.

Not quite one giant leap, but I like that Onishi was originally a check-in agent—which kind of means there is hope for all of us—provided we have his brains and get-up-and-go.

He then did two years of basic flight training in Bakersfield, California and one year of advanced flight training in Tokyo, and was then promoted to co-pilot of Boeing 767 airplanes in October 2003, flying domestic and international routes.
(From left) Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Kate Rubins of NASA and Onishi Takuya of JAXA.
Onishi was selected by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in February 2009, as a Japanese astronaut candidate for the International Space Station, and the ISS Astronaut Basic Training domestic program at Tsukuba Space Center in Japan beginning in April of 2009.

Completing this, Onishi then took part in an Astronaut Candidate Training program with 13 others at NASA’s  Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Training included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in ISS systems, Extravehicular Activity (EVA), robotics, physiological training, T-38 flight training (the Northrop T-38 Talon is a two-seat, twin-engine supersonic jet trainer. It was the world's first supersonic trainer), and water and wilderness survival training (you know, in case they land in the future and it’s all Planet Of The Apes).

On September 19, 2011, NASA announced that Onishi would serve as an aquanaut aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory during the NEEMO 15 undersea exploration mission from October 17-30, 2011, but that was delayed by poor weather until October 20, 2011. One day later—IE 24 hours later—Onishi and his team officially became aquanauts after being underwater for that length of time. A hurricane approaching ended his time below the surface on October 26, 2011.

Onishi is married and enjoys flying, playing the saxophone (not sure what type), movies (apparently all of them as no genre was noted) and hiking (which he won’t get to do too much of aboard the ISS).

No... I do not know his blood type, but I believe he is the 11th Japanese person to fly in space.

Andrew Joseph