Not only will 49-year-old Koichi Wakata be the first Japanese astronaut to command the International Space Station, but he plans to be an ambassador of Japanese culture in outer space as well. At a press conference at the Tsukuba Space Center of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), he told the media that he plans to share the wonders of Japanese food to his team.
Wakata and his six crew members are set to leave aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan by November. The press conference is their last before the rocket launch and the astronaut took the chance to share his “culinary plans” when they go into space, which will include mackerel cooked with “miso” fermented soybean paste. But more than the food of course, Wakata hopes that his leadership will bring out the highest potential in the people he’ll be spending time with in the next six months. He will take command of the space station in the last two months of the mission.
The past 38 commanders, except for two, of the ISS have been from either the United States or Russia. Among the operators of the space station, which also includes the United States, Russia, Europe, and Canada, Japan is the last one to have provided a commander. And it is a responsibility that Wakata is taking seriously. He believes that much trust has been placed on Japan technologies and they have to “live by its science and technology capabilities.” He says this is his homeland’s contribution to space development.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan