Press Release


President Tachikawa's comments on
JAXA Astronaut Selected for Space Shuttle Mission
for Transporting and Assembling the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo"

May 6, 2006 (JST)

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Today, I am extremely delighted to hear that Astronaut Takao Doi was selected to be aboard the Space Shuttle flight for the transportation and assembly of the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) "Kibo" to the International Space Station (ISS) and that Astronaut Naoko Yamazaki was chosen as a crew support astronaut at a meeting between Minister Kenji Kosaka of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.

The Space Shuttle flight, which Astronaut Doi is scheduled to be on board, is the first transportation and assembly mission for a part of the "Kibo", the Experiment Logistics Module, Pressurized Section.

As this will be the second Space Shuttle flight for Astronaut Doi, I firmly believe that he will utilize his previous experience on the STS-87 in Nov. 1997 for this initial assembly work of the "Kibo" and its initial functional verification.

Astronaut Yamazaki was just certified as a Mission Specialist in February, thus this decision must encourage and stimulate her.

The selection of two Japanese astronauts to be in charge of the important mission of assembling the ISS will surely enhance Japan's contribution to the ISS project, and, accordingly, it will bring further progress in our manned space activities.

Finally, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to NASA and all other international and domestic organizations that made this decision possible.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
President, Keiji Tachikawa

Astronaut Doi's Comments on his nomination to be on board the Space Shuttle mission

It is a great honor for me to participate in the assembly mission of the Japanese Experiment Module, "Kibo," which is a "permanent type" manned space station. "Kibo" has been developed by Japan for almost 20 years. I am very excited as the time for its launch approaches. I will do my best to undertake this mission in corporation with Astronaut Yamazaki in order to successfully assemble "Kibo". I am deeply grateful to everyone who has encouraged me up to this point. Let's work together toward a "fully-fledged" space era in which Japanese astronauts are always stationed and working in space.

Takao Doi

Astronaut Yamazaki's Comments

I am delighted to be selected to support the assembly mission of the Japanese Experiment Module, "Kibo". I would like to use my experience of being engaged in the "Kibo" development and my achievements through training to support Astronaut Doi, and do my best to make this mission successful in corporation with other members of the team. The first Japanese manned experiment facility is about to function in space. I hope that more people can feel familiar with space through the "Kibo" project. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all people who have been encouraging me, and would also like to ask for your continued support.

Naoko Yamazaki

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