Press Release

  • Home>
  • Press Release>
  • Return of the Soyuz Spacecraft (53S/MS-07) with Astronaut Norishige Kanai aboard>

Return of the Soyuz Spacecraft (53S/MS-07) with Astronaut Norishige Kanai aboard

June 3, 2018 (JST)

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

The Soyuz spacecraft (53S/MS-07) has safely returned to Earth with astronaut Norishige Kanai aboard who completed his long-duration mission on the International Space Station (ISS).

Landing Date/Time: 21:39, June 3 2018 (JST)
18:39, June 3 2018 (Kazakhstan Time)
Landing Location: Republic of Kazakhstan
Crewmembers: Anton Shkaplerov (ROSCOSMOS)
Scott Tingle (NASA)
Norishige Kanai (JAXA)

Note 1: The 54th and 55th expedition crews (Astronauts Shkaplerov, Tingle, and Kanai) stayed in space for 168 days (2 days from launch to ISS ; 166 days at ISS).
Reference links for further information:

Comments by JAXA President
on Return of the Soyuz spacecraft (53S / MS-07) with Astronaut Norishige Kanai aboard

I am very pleased that Astronaut Kanai, who completed a long stay at the International Space Station (ISS), returned safely to the Republic of Kazakhstan by the Soyuz spacecraft (53S/MS-07) today.

Astronaut Kanai has steadily carried out numerous missions under the mission theme “Clues to health and longevity are in space" by exploiting his background as a doctor. Especially, in a space experiment to study the structure and mechanism of amyloid fibril, which is known as one of factors of the onset of Alzheimer-type dementia and diabetes, the condition of forming amyloid fibrils was successfully discovered, paving the way to elucidate the mechanism of extension of fibrils. Furthermore, on-orbit rearing and analyzing technologies of gene knockout mouse and wide type mouse were established. Based on these technologies, the possibility of comparatively analyzing muscle and bone tissue changes at the gene level expands and it is expected to be a clue to drug discovery.

In February, Astronaut Kanai was in charge of the maintenance work related to the ISS's robotic arm by extravehicular activities, which was performed as the 4th Japanese astronaut after Astronauts Doi, Noguchi, and Hoshide. In April, he captured the U.S. Dragon cargo spacecraft with the robotic arm, contributing to the steady operation of ISS.
In addition, Astronaut Kanai released Kenya's first CubeSat, which was the first cooperation partner under the KiboCUBE programme between the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and JAXA, and participated in the 2nd International Space Exploration Forum jointly with the U.S. and Russian astronauts as well as with the Russian astronaut at the Japan-Russia summit Meeting. Through the ISS long-term stay of Astronaut Kanai, he has informed the world that the ISS project is a successful example of international cooperation and collaboration and that Japan is indispensable among them.

After returning, I hope the Astronaut Kanai to pass the experiences gained during his stay with along the Astronauts Noguchi and Hoshide who will experience a long-term stay from 2019 to 2020, and to reflect the experience in expanding the use of facilities in low earth orbit such as the ISS and “Kibo” as well as technical development and international cooperation of international space exploration such as lunar exploration.

We would like to express our gratitude to everyone, including people of Japan who supported us; domestic affiliated organizations, NASA, ROSCOSMOS, and other foreign affiliated organizations for the support of the Astronaut Kanai in this mission.

June 3, 2018
Hiroshi Yamakawa
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Comment by Soichi Noguchi

Congratulations on your success in the long stay to the International Space Station, Astronaut Kanai!

Astronaut Kanai made remarkable achievements in fibril growth experiment for elucidating the mechanism of amyloid fibrils and techniques of "rearing on gene knockout mouse in orbit" as his mission theme of "Clues to health and longevity are in space." We are also very proud of his achievements.

In addition, the Astronaut Kanai's skills as astronauts were also unquestionably demonstrated in the activities such as extravehicular activity, which was performed as the 4th Japanese astronaut, and the release of microsatellite that became the first CubeSat under the KiboCUBE programme with the United Nations. I believe that his international evaluation as an astronaut would be enhanced.

First of all after the return, I'd like Astronaut Kanai to spend his time relaxing with his family and trying to rehabilitate. Then, please tell everyone in Japan what you gained during your stay. I am looking forward to seeing you in Houston.

June 3, 2018
JAXA Astronaut
Soichi Noguchi

Comment by Akihiko Hoshide

I am very pleased with the successful return of Astronaut Kanai and his successful long-duration stay mission.

During the 54th/55th Expedition Mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Astronaut Kanai carried out important works related to ISS operation such as extravehicular activities involved in the maintenance of the ISS's robotic arm and capturing of the Dragon cargo spacecraft by maneuvering the ISS's robotic arm in addition to a variety of experiments such as fibril growth experiment aimed at elucidating the causes of Alzheimer's disease, rearing of small animals in orbit in order to investigate stress in space such as microgravity in detail, and releasing of the Kenya's first microsatellite.

I participated in the mission to support for mission operation, plan adjustment and others at NASA Johnson Space Center. His reliable work was highly appreciated among persons involved.

I also gained inspiration from the Astronaut Kanai's great success. I'd like to have Astronaut Kanai enjoy the Earth that he was out for a long time, and I am also hoping for his success after the return such as sharing of his knowledge and experience at ISS for future space exploration.

June 3, 2018
JAXA Astronaut
Akihiko Hoshide