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Return of the Soyuz Spacecraft (47S/MS-01) with Astronaut Takuya Onishi aboard

October 30, 2016 (JST)

National Research and Development Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The Soyuz spacecraft (47S/MS-01) has safely returned to Earth with astronaut Takuya Onishi aboard who completed his long-duration mission on the International Space Station (ISS).

Landing Date/Time: 12:58, October 30 2016 (JST)
9:58, October 30 2016 (Kazakhstan Time)
Landing Location: Republic of Kazakhstan
Crewmembers: Anatoly Ivanishin (ROSCOSMOS)
Takuya Onishi (JAXA)
Kathleen Rubins (NASA)

Note 1: The 48th and 49th expedition crews (Astronauts Ivanishin, Onishi, and Rubins) stayed in space for 115 days (2 days from launch to ISS ; 113 days at ISS).
Reference links for further information:

Comments by JAXA President
on Return of the Soyuz Spacecraft (47S/MS-01) with Astronaut Onishi aboard

I, Naoki Okumura, President of JAXA, am pleased with the safe return of the Soyuz Spacecraft with Astronaut Onishi aboard, which landed in the Republic of Kazakhstan today, following the Astronaut’s long-term stay at the International Space Station.

Japanese technology has proved to be the backbone of his mission. Astronaut Onishi took over the effective research environment that his forerunner Astronaut Kimiya Yui prepared and has successfully accomplished the mission.
It includes the experiment of breeding mice simultaneously in a microgravity and modified gravity (1G) environment, and bringing them back to Earth all alive, which is an unprecedented success. The accomplishments of the experiment are expected to be applied in the medical field: to remedy the mass decrease of bones and muscles at an accelerated speed that astronauts suffer in space, which hopefully in the future may be applied to treat patients of aging-related illnesses, such as osteoporosis and amyotrophia, similar to fast loss of musculature in zero gravity.
Onishi’s mission also illustrated ways to broaden the scope of space environment utilization through enabling remote control of the Japanese experiment module ‘KIBO’ airlock and deployment of CubeSats from ground with the use of ‘KIBO’ robotic arm. Japan, being the only country in Asia participating in the ISS project, the experiments Onishi conducted have great educational value for the growth of members in neighboring Asian countries. Through this opportunity, space exploration agencies of other Asian countries have shown interest in further utilization of ‘KIBO’.
In addition, the comprehensive strength of “Team Japan” was proven throughout his stay at the ISS. Together with the ground control team in Tsukuba, Onishi contributed to the capture of the U.S. Cygnus cargo spacecraft which uses the same rendezvous system as JAXA’s KOUNOTORI (H-II Transfer Vehicle, HTV).

Onishi’s mission clearly demonstrated that Japan is an essential partner of the ISS project. After his return to Earth, Onishi, through his experience in space, will contribute to produce the outcome of ‘KIBO’ utilization and to further improve the development of Japan’s manned space technology. His experience will be passed onto Astronaut Norishige Kanai, who is now preparing for his flight in 2017.

I express my heartfelt gratitude to the fellow Japanese, pertinent Japanese parties, NASA, and Roscosmos for their support on behalf of the successful completion of Onishi’s mission.

Thank you.

October 30, 2016
Naoki Okumura
National Research and Development Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)