Press Release


Announcement of Japanese Expedition Crew
to the International Space Station (ISS)

February 13, 2007 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Space organizations in Canada, the European Union, Japan, Russia and the United States have agreed on the following schedule and members for the 16th to 18th Expedition Crew that will stay on the International Space Station (ISS). We are pleased to announce that Astronaut Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was selected as a prime member of the Expedition 18 Crew and Astronaut Soichi Noguchi as his backup. This is the first time for a Japanese astronaut to be selected for an Expedition crew member to stay in long dration on the ISS.

Expected Schedule to Stay on the ISS :     Fiscal year 2008
Period of Stay : About three months
Expected Activities about "Kibo"  :
  Functional check-out of the Pressurized Module and science experiment there
Assembly and functional check-out of the Exposed Facility, and other activities
Preparation for flight :  Training for operations to assemble the Japanese Experiment Module Kibo and for operation of each ISS element and to be on board a Space Shuttle and Soyuz.

Members of the Expedition 18 Prime Crew :
   Commander    E. Michel Fincke (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA)
(Flying to and from the ISS by Soyuz (Planned))
  Flight Engineers Salizahan Shakirovich Sharipov (Federal Space Agency, FSA)
(Flying to and from the ISS by Soyuz (Planned))

Koichi Wakata (JAXA)
(Flying to the ISS by the STS-126 (ULF2) and coming back by STS-127 (2J/A) (Planned))

Gregory E. Chamitoff (NASA)
(Flying to the ISS by STS-127 (2J/A) (Planned) and coming back by TBD

Reference : Brief personal history of Astronaut Koichi Wakata and Astronaut Soichi Noguchi
Onboard Schedule for the Japanese Astronauts
Comment from JAXA President
Comments from Japanese Astronauts
Reference Link : ISS Kibo Information Center

Brief personal history of Astronaut Koichi Wakata and Astronaut Soichi Noguchi

ISS Flight Engineer    Koichi Wakata
1963 Born in Saitama-city (then Urawa-city), Saitama, Japan
1987 Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from Kyushu University
1989 Master of Science degree in applied mechanics from Kyushu University
April 1992 Selected as an astronaut candidate for assembly/operation of the ISS Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo"
August 1992 Started astronaut candidate training
August 1993 Certified as an astronaut
Flew on the STS-72 Endeavour mission during which Astronaut Wakata retrieved the Japanese Space Flyer Unit (launched by H-II Launch Vehicle in March 1995), deployed and retrieved the OAST-Flyer, and operated the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS) for supporting extravehicular activities.
Oct 12 to 25, 2000
Flew on the STS-92 Discovery mission during which Astronaut Wakata attached the Z1 Truss and Pressurized Mating Adapter PMA-3 to the ISS, and operated the SRMS to support extravehicular activities.
2004 Doctorate in aerospace engineering from Kyushu University.

Back-up Astronaut    Soichi Noguchi
1965 Born in Yokohama, Kanagawa
1991 Master of Engineering degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Tokyo
May 1996 Selected as an astronaut candidate
August 1996 Stated astronaut candidate training
April 1998 Certified as an astronaut
July 26 to Aug 9, 2005
Flew on the STS-114 Discovery mission during which Astronaut Noguchi took images of the external propellant tank for confirming its flight safety and reliability, evaluated new procedures for repairing Shuttle heat-resistant tiles, replaced the ISS attitude control equipment, and installed and retrieved other ISS devices.

Onboard Schedule for the Japanese Astronauts

February 13, 2007

Comment from JAXA President Keiji Tachikawa
Selection of Japanese Astronauts for ISS Expedition

Today, I was very pleased to hear that Astronaut Koichi Wakata was selected as the first Japanese astronaut who will stay for a long time in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) "Kibo" on the International Space Station (ISS), and Astronaut Souichi Noguchi was chosen as a back-up crewmember for Astronaut Wakata.

This is the second ISS visit for Astronaut Wakata, and his mission this time includes experiments and functional tests in the Pressurized Module, assembly preparations for the "Kibo" Exposed Facility, which will be transported by the third assembly flight, and its actual assembly.

I am confident that Astronaut Wakata will be successful in his mission, including his long stay on the ISS, by taking advantage of the experience he gained from his two previous space flights.

I believe that Astronaut Wakata and Astronaut Noguchi will play an important role for the "Kibo" assembly as part of the ISS program and it will further advance Japan's contribution to the ISS program. This will also be a great step for the Japanese manned space program, and will promote a smooth start of our future manned space activities.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the support and efforts from all related parties including NASA.

President of JAXA
Keiji Tachikawa

Comments from Astronaut Mohri, Mukai, Doi, Furukawa, Hoshide, and Yamazaki

Now that the Japanese manned space program has entered the second stage, or the International Space Station (ISS) era, I have high expectations for our top astronauts, Astronaut Wakata and Astronaut Noguchi, during the ISS Expedition mission. I hope they will do their best and pass on their achievements to the next three astronauts.

Mamoru Mohri

Congratulations to them on their assignments. I believe that Astronaut Wakata is the most suitable person for the ISS Expedition. I hope he will perform to the best of his abilities, using his abundant experience.

Chiaki Mukai

Congratulations, Wakata-san and Noguchi-san on your assignments. I know you will do a great job and make the ISS Expedition a success. It is the beginning of a new era when Japanese Astronauts will stay in space for a long period of time and use the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo" to introduce to the world the various aspects of space that cannot be performed on a short trip, including micro-gravity experiments, Earth observations, and space classes.

Takao Doi

Congratulations Astronaut Wakata for being selected as a crew member of the Expedition-18. The time has come for a Japanese astronaut to stay on the ISS for a long period. I suppose that you will be very busy traveling around the United States, Russia and other countries, to take part in tough training courses. Please take care of your health and do your best in space!

Satoshi Furukawa

I am very happy to hear that the first Japanese ISS long-duration crew has been assigned. Everyone knows the achievements of Koichi Wakata and Soichi Noguchi in their previous space flights. This expedition to ISS is particularly important as it includes activities related to the assembly of the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo," and we will be supporting them on Earth as part of the team. Meanwhile, I will also continue to work hard to improve myself as an astronaut, in hope of having a successful mission just like them.

Akihiko Hoshide

Congratulations, Astronaut Wakata and Astronaut Noguchi, on being selected as crew members for the ISS Expedition. I am sure that you will perform admirably during your mission by using all of your previous experience. I will also do my best to support you. I look forward to your success.

Naoko Yamazaki

For inquiries:
JAXA Public Affairs Department
Tel: +81-3-6266-6413 to 7, Fax: +81-3-6266-6910