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Astronaut Kanai Starts the International Space Station (ISS) Expedition Mission

December 19, 2017 (JST)

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

Astronaut Norishige Kanai, who arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) by the Soyuz spacecraft (53S/MS-07), has begun his long-duration stay as the 54th and 55th expedition crew member. He will stay onboard the ISS for about six months until returning to the ground on the Soyuz spacecraft (53S/MS-07) in June 3rd 2017.

Docking Date/Time: at 5:39 p.m. on December 19 (Tue.), 2017 (Japan Standard Time)
at 11:39 a.m. on December 19 (Tue.), 2017 (Moscow Time)
Hatch Open Date/Time: at 7:54 p.m. on December 19 (Tue.), 2017 (Japan Standard Time)
at 1:54 p.m. on December 19 (Tue.), 2017 (Moscow Time)

Comment by JAXA President
Astronaut Kanai Commences his Long-duration Stay on the ISS

Today, the Soyuz spacecraft (53S/MS-07) successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS), commencing his long-duration stay onboard the ISS.

In 2009, Astronaut Kanai was selected as ISS crew candidate along with Astronauts Yui and Onishi. They are identified as astronauts of the new generation, who have emerged since the establishment of the operations of Japanese KIBO Experiment Module of the ISS. My expectations are high that he will take up the baton carried by the two proceeding astronauts through his missions in the next six months aboard the ISS.

His expedition is one with the underlying theme - addressing the unique issue of health longevity that Japanese society faces. To that end, he will execute various missions, some of which aim at elucidating the structure and mechanism of amyloid fibril, a known cause for the Alzheimer’s disease, and growing protein crystal.
He has taken lectures directly from the proposers of the mission experiments, on top of his medical background as a doctor. This will produce excellent results and make the best use of KIBO.

I hereby express my gratitude to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the State Space Corporation ROSCOSMOS, other space organizations and Japanese citizens for cooperation and support. I am certain of the continuous backing by all.

Naoki Okumura
JAXA President