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JAXA Astronaut Corps

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The JAXA Astronaut Corps is a unit of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) that selects, trains, and provides astronauts as crew members for U.S. and Russian space missions. The corps has six active members, able to serve on the International Space Station (ISS).


The first Japanese astronauts were chosen by NASDA, the predecessor to JAXA, in 1985 to train as international mission specialists in the Space Shuttle program.

The first Japanese citizen to fly in space was Toyohiro Akiyama, a journalist sponsored by TBS, who flew on the Soviet Soyuz TM-11 in December 1990. He spent more than seven days in space on the Mir space station, in what the Soviets called their first commercial spaceflight which allowed them to earn $14 million.

The first member of the Japanese Astronaut Corps to fly was Mamoru Mohri aboard STS-47 in 1992.

On 1 October 2003, three organizations were merged to form the new JAXA: Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL), and National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). JAXA was formed as an Independent Administrative Institution administered by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC).[1]


The Astronauts Corps is one of the main divisions within JAXA. There are seven active astronauts in the corps and four former astronauts, all of whom have gone into space. Astronaut Kimiya Yui serves as the head of the corps.


JAXA generally recruits astronauts who have degrees as scientists, engineers and/or medical doctors. In addition to being Japanese citizens or residents, candidates must meet certain physical standards (including height, weight, hearing and visual acuity), educational requirements, and be fluent in English.


Active astronauts[edit]

JAXA has five active astronauts who have all flown to the International Space Station.

Astronaut Missions Group
Satoshi Furukawa Soyuz TMA-02M (Expedition 28/29), SpaceX Crew-7 (Expedition 70) 1999 NASDA Group
Akihiko Hoshide STS-124, Soyuz TMA-05M (Expedition 32/33), SpaceX Crew-2 (Expedition 65) 1999 NASDA Group
Kimiya Yui (Head of the Astronaut Corps) Soyuz TMA-17M (Expedition 44/45), Future 2025 ISS Expedition 2009 JAXA Group
Takuya Onishi Soyuz MS-01 (Expedition 48/49), Future 2025 ISS Expedition 2009 JAXA Group
Norishige Kanai Soyuz MS-07 (Expedition 54/55) 2009 JAXA Group

Former astronauts[edit]

There are six former JAXA astronauts.

Astronaut Missions Group Notes
Takao Doi STS-87, STS-123 1985 NASDA Group
Mamoru Mohri STS-47, STS-99 1985 NASDA Group Second Japanese man to fly in space.
Chiaki Mukai STS-65, STS-95 1985 NASDA Group First Japanese woman to fly in space
Soichi Noguchi STS-114, Soyuz TMA-17, SpaceX Crew-1 1996 NASDA Group
Koichi Wakata STS-72, STS-92, STS-119/127 (Expedition 18/19/20), Soyuz TMA-11M (Expedition 38/39), SpaceX Crew-5 (Expedition 68) 1992 NASDA Group
Naoko Yamazaki STS-131 1999 NASDA Group Second Japanese woman to fly in space

Selection groups[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Law Concerning Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency" (PDF). JAXA. Retrieved 20 April 2010.

External links[edit]