Briefing Session Held on Astronaut and UTokyo Graduate Takuya Onishi’s Expedition Mission to Space


On June 12, 2017 at Yasuda Auditorium, the University of Tokyo, in collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), held a briefing session on astronaut Takuya Onishi’s long-duration expedition mission to space.

Takuya Onishi graduated from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics of UTokyo’s Faculty of Engineering in April 2007. After working as a copilot on both domestic and international routes for All Nippon Airways (ANA), he was selected by JAXA to be trained as an astronaut in 2009. He lived in space from July through October 2016 as a crewmember of Expedition 48-49 on the International Space Station (ISS).

As Astronaut Onishi is a graduate of Faculty of Engineering, the University’s School of Engineering and JAXA cohosted this briefing session, in which Astronaut Onishi and others discussed his expedition mission aboard the ISS.

Highlights of the briefing session included speeches and talks from UTokyo President Makoto Gonokami, President of JAXA Naoki Okumura, Dean of the UTokyo Faculty and Graduate School of Engineering Tatsuya Okubo, UTokyo alumni astronauts Mr. Onishi and Satoshi Furukawa (current Head of the JAXA Space Biomedical Research Group), JAXA Professor Takehiko Ishikawa (Department of Interdisciplinary Space Science, ISASJAXA Institute of Space and Astronautical Science), UTokyo Professor Shin-ichi Nakasuka (Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Graduate School of Engineering), and UTokyo Professor Hiroaki Suga (Graduate School of Science; Director and Cofounder of PeptiDream). The briefing session was moderated by former JAXA astronaut and current UTokyo Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Graduate School of Engineering doctoral student Naoko Yamazaki, giving the audience the rare opportunity to hear from three Japanese astronauts at one event.

At the start of the event, President Gokonami delivered opening remarks, after which JAXA President Okumura gave an introduction of the Japanese Kibo Experiment Module, which astronauts on the ISS are currently using to conduct experiments. Mr. Astronaut Onishi then returned to President Gonokami a flag bearing the University of Tokyo’s name that he had taken into space with him on his mission.

For the first part of the event, Mr.Astronaut Onishi discussed what his expedition mission was about, as well as what it was like living in space. He then took questions from children, students and other members of the audience.

In the second part of the event, titled “Using Kibo to Lead the Way to Japan’s Future,” UTokyo alumni Professor Ishikawa and aAstronaut Mr. Furukawa, as well as Professor Nakasuka and Professor Suga from UTokyo explained how the Japanese Kibo Experiment Module is being used. All four speakers and Mr.Astronaut Onishi then came together on the stage to participate in a Q&A session, during which they received questions from many members of the audience.

Following the second part, Dean Okubo presented Mr. Astronaut Onishi with a bouquet to celebrate the success of Mr. Onishi’shis mission and his safe return to Earth.

Dean Okubo then offered closing remarks, after which the successful event was concluded.

Video of the event will be available for viewing at a later date through the following link:
UTokyo TV (Japanese only): http://todai.tv


Astronaut Takuya Onishi

Mr.Astronaut Onishi and President Gonokami holding the University of Tokyo flag that was taken into space

All speakers on the stage for the Q&A session