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Kimiya Yui

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Kimiya Yui
Yui in April 2015
Born (1970-01-30) January 30, 1970 (age 54)
Space career
JAXA astronaut
RankLieutenant Colonel (Ret.), JASDF
Time in space
141d 16h 09m
Selection2009 JAXA Group
MissionsSoyuz TMA-17M (Expedition 44/45), Boeing Starliner-1[1] (Expedition 72/73)
Mission insignia

Kimiya Yui (油井 亀美也, Yui Kimiya, born January 30, 1970[2] in Kawakami, Nagano, Japan) is a Japanese astronaut from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). He was selected for the agency in 2009.[3]


Yui, from Nagano Prefecture, enrolled in the Japan Air Self-Defense Force after he graduated from the National Defense Academy of Japan in 1992. He has piloted an F-15 Eagle fighter as a test pilot, and worked in the Air Staff Office's Defense Planning Division since December 2008 as a Lieutenant Colonel when he was selected as an astronaut candidate along with Takuya Onishi.

JAXA career[edit]

Yui is the first Japanese astronaut with military background, and was forced to retire due to the historical policy by Japanese government which separates the scientific field from military works.[4]

After astronaut candidate training, he was certified as an ISS astronaut in July 2011.

Yui served as an aquanaut aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory during the NEEMO 16 undersea exploration mission in June 2012.[5] The NEEMO 16 crew successfully "splashed down" at 11:05 am on June 11.[6] On the morning of June 12, Yui and his crewmates officially became aquanauts, having spent over 24 hours underwater.[7] The crew safely returned to the surface on June 22.[8]

In November 2016, Yui became Chief of the JAXA Astronaut Corps.[9]

Expedition 44/45[edit]

In 2013 Yui was assigned as backup Flight Engineer for Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti for ISS Expedition 42/43.[10] Cristoforetti launched onboard Soyuz TMA-15M alongside fellow Expedition 42/43 crewmembers Anton Shkaplerov and Terry Virts 23 November 2014, following which Yui began training as prime crew Flight Engineer for ISS Expedition 44/45 alongside Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren.

Yui (left) and Kjell Lindgren celebrating their 100th day in space

Yui launched onboard Soyuz TMA-17M alongside Kononenko and Lindgren on 22 July 2015 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, a solar panel on the Soyuz failed to deploy once the spacecraft got to orbit although this was not mission-critical, and the crew successfully docked with the ISS six hours later, officially becoming members of the Expedition 44 crew alongside Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko as well as NASA astronaut Scott Kelly.[11] During Expedition 44 Yui robotically supported the arrival of JAXAs HTV-5 uncrewed resupply spacecraft in August 2015[12] and was part of a rare "direct handover" period on board the ISS where nine crew members were present on board the station following the arrival of Soyuz TMA-18M and before the departure of Soyuz TMA-16M, this handover was carried out in order to allow Kornenko and Kelly to remain on board the ISS for a full year.[13]

Yui remained on board the ISS alongside Lindgren, Kononenko, Korneninko and Kelly following the departure of Soyuz TMA-16M, after which the five transferred over to Expedition 45, they were joined by Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov who brought the crew up to six members. During Expedition 45 Yui supported two spacewalks, made by Lindgren and Kelly on 28 October and 6 November 2015, and supported the arrival of Orbital ATK's OA-4.[14]

On 11 December 2015 Yui, alongside Kononenko and Lindgren undocked from the ISS, officially ending Expedition 45 and starting Expedition 46, the trio landed on the Kazakh Steppe on the same day following 141 days in space.[15]

See also[edit]

  • A Beautiful Planet, 2016 IMAX documentary film showing scenes of the Earth, featuring Kimiya Yui and other ISS astronauts.


  1. ^ "Next up is launch, as Boeing's Starliner takes trek to Cape Canaveral". 17 April 2024. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  2. ^ "Kimiya Yui – ISS Expedition 45".
  3. ^ Xinhua News Agency Staff Writers (February 26, 2009). "Two Japanese Picked As Candidates For Astronauts". Space.TV Corporation. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  4. ^ Ben Evans. "All-Civilian Soyuz TMA-17M Crew Ready for Wednesday Launch to Space Station (Part 2)". americaspace.com. Retrieved May 14, 2023.
  5. ^ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (April 16, 2012). "NASA - NASA Announces 16th Undersea Exploration Mission Dates and Crew". NASA. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  6. ^ The NEEMO Mission Management and Topside Support Team (June 11, 2012). "NEEMO 16 Mission Day 1 - Status Report" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
  7. ^ The NEEMO Mission Management and Topside Support Team (June 12, 2012). "NEEMO 16 Mission Day 2 - Status Report" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
  8. ^ The NEEMO Mission Management and Topside Support Team (June 22, 2012). "NEEMO 16 Mission Day 12 - Status Report" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  9. ^ "Kimiya Yui". JAXA. March 28, 2017. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  10. ^ "Mission of Soyuz TMA-15M". www.russianspaceweb.com.
  11. ^ "Mission of Soyuz TMA-17M". www.russianspaceweb.com.
  12. ^ "HTV-5 arrives at the ISS following successful berthing". August 23, 2015.
  13. ^ "Soyuz Crew Docks Delivering New Science to Station – Space Station". blogs.nasa.gov.
  14. ^ Garcia, Mark (February 12, 2015). "Expedition 45". NASA.
  15. ^ "Soyuz TMA-17M trio return back to Earth". December 10, 2015.

External links[edit]