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Astronaut Norishige Kanai Selected
as Member of ISS Expedition Crew

August 26, 2015 (JST)

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

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) selected Astronaut Norishige Kanai as a crewmember for the 54th/55th Expedition Mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Astronaut Kanai was selected as an astronaut candidate in September 2009, and then, certified as an ISS astronaut in July 2011 after completion of all basic training requirements.
Since then, he has been continuously maintaining and improving his qualities as an ISS astronaut through various training such as the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) conducted at the underwater laboratory in the United States.
For Astronaut Kanai, this long duration stay aboard the ISS will be his first space flight.

Period of scheduled stay at the ISS:
  About 6 months from around November 2017
Transportation to and from the ISS:
  Launch and return by Russian Soyuz spacecraft
Major tasks at the ISS:
  During the 54th/55th Expedition Mission, he will be in charge of ISS operations as a flight engineer, and science experiments using the space environment.
Astronaut Kanai's schedule in the near future:
  He will begin training necessary for the Soyuz trip and ISS expedition mission from January 2016.

Attached reference
Reference Link


Brief Personal History of Astronaut Norishige Kanai

Norishige Kanai

JAXA Astronaut
38 years old (as of August 26, 2015)

1976 Born in Tokyo and then brought up in Chiba, Japan
March 2002 Graduated from National Defense Medical College
From April 2002 Worked at National Defense Medical College Hospital, Japan Self Defense Force Ohminato Hospital, Japan Self Defense Force Hospital Kure, etc.
June 2009 Stationed at Medical Service Division, 1st Service School, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force
Sept. 2009 Joined JAXA
Sept. 2009 Participated in basic training for ISS Astronaut Candidate
July 2011 Completed the above Astronaut candidate Training
July 2011 Certified as an ISS Astronaut
July 2015 Participated in the 20th NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO 20) conducted at the underwater laboratory "Aquarius", located off the coast of Florida in the United States.

JAXA President's Comment on the Selection of
JAXA Astronaut Norishige Kanai
as a Member of the ISS Expedition Crew

August 26, 2015

It is my great pleasure and privilege to announce that JAXA assigned Astronaut Kanai as the seventh Japanese astronaut to stay at the International Space Station (ISS) for a prolonged period of time.

Astronaut Kanai will engage in system operations of the International Space Station (ISS), an international collaborative project, including the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo”, and onboard scientific experiments following fellow Japanese Astronauts Yui and Onishi, who were selected as ISS astronaut candidates along with Astronaut Kanai in February 2009.

On August 24, we displayed Japan’s high engineering ability by succeeding in the capturing and berthing of the KOUNOTORI5 through team Japan’s unity that involved Astronaut Yui, who has been on the ISS for an expedition mission, Astronaut Wakata, who worked as the CAPCOM (Capsule Communicator), and operation and control personnel in Tsukuba.

I expect that Astronaut Kanai will also exhibit his ability with his expertise as a doctor to make various accomplishments in space medicine and life science experiments that are highly regarded for Japan’s science and technology policy, especially for the health and medical sector, that is promoted by the Japanese government.

Through continued ISS expedition missions by Japanese astronauts, we would like to accumulate our achievements in manned space activities and collect diversified technology and knowledge in view of future missions such as international manned space exploration. We would also like to stimulate the intellectual curiosity of younger generations who will shoulder the future through Japanese astronauts’ activities, and generate more results that are beneficial for society.

I would like to express my profound appreciation to all people and parties concerned in the selection this time.

Naoki Okumura
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Determination to Become Expedition Crew by Norishige Kanai

August 26, 2015

I have been assigned as a member of the ISS 54th/55th Expedition Crew. First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all those who have supported me.

I am very proud that I was commissioned for such an important mission following my predecessor astronauts from Japan who are highly regarded in the world, including NASA, while I brace myself with firm resolution to go through tough training for about two years in order to respond to tremendous expectations.

On the other hand, I am really excited and thrilled by this coincidence that Astronauts Yui, Onishi and me, who are called “next generation astronauts”, were assigned to the big tasks when the ISS operation is also being moved to the “next step” for all world users to fully utilize the ISS, which is the biggest space infrastructure in human history, as its operation has become stable now.

Currently, Astronaut Yui on the ISS expedition mission has started operations of various experiment instruments to further open up the possibility of space use such as the CALET (CALorimetric Electron Telescope) to elucidate the mystery of dark matter, the Mice Habitation Unit to raise mice in space and have them stay alive and return to Earth, and the deployment of small satellites, for which many in the world are on an waiting list.

I am determined to work hard through training and aim to proudly report space science and experiment results to Japanese people in two years through contributions to breathtaking and innovative experiments that will surprise world scientists and researchers.

I would like to express my profound appreciation to all domestic and international pertinent parties and people for their support for my selection this time.

Norishige Kanai
JAXA Astronaut