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To support the Artemis program, Japan will recruit the first new space explorers in 13 years

As part of preparations to support NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program, Japan’s space agency is preparing to recruit astronaut applicants for the very first time in about 13 years. Successful candidates will be sent to work long-term in the ISS (International Space Station), a Japanese experiment module “Kibo” attached to ISS, or NASA’s lunar orbit station Gateway, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

JAXA will offer many capabilities for the Gateway’s International Habitation module (I-Hab), that will offer the core of Gateway life support prospective as well as additional space where personnel will reside, work, and carry out research during the Artemis expeditions, under a deal with NASA.

“Earth and space are the operating areas. “A business journey to the ISS without a family or a protracted vacation to a lunar outpost are both doable,” JAXA added. Applications will be accepted from December 20 until March 4, 2022, according to the government. According to JAXA, applicants will go through a series of exams and interviews, including ones that assess English language, leadership, problem-solving skills, and the capacity to communicate mission experiences to the public. Final candidates are anticipated to be released in February 2023.

Applications must be Japanese nationals with normal hearing, vision, and color perception, as well as have a minimum of 3 years of work experience, according to the agency’s standards. Due to spacecraft, spacesuit, and other requirements, they must also be between 149.5 to 190.5 centimeters tall. Participants who have been convicted of a crime or who are affiliated with extremist organizations and parties are not permitted to compete.

Applicants used to be required to obtain a 4-year university degree in natural science, but according to an NHK report, JAXA has reduced such restrictions. Because there are no operational female astronauts in Japan, JAXA wants to initiate a push to urge women to apply. So far, 11 Japanese astronauts have been launched into space. According to NHK, 7 men remain on duty, with an average life expectancy of 52 as of November.

When JAXA called for applications 13 years ago, a record 963 persons applied. For the very first time since NASA’s Apollo 17 mission in 1972, the US hopes to fly humans to the lunar by 2024 as part of the Artemis program.

Tokyo signed the Artemis international pact, which is led by the United States. The goal of the project is to create a “set of rules for space exploration, such as the extraction of lunar resources.” In addition, in July, Washington and Tokyo agreed to collaborate on NASA-led lunar investigation. Under the terms of the agreement, Japanese astronauts who have been assigned to the Gateway, a small spacecraft that is going to orbit the moon, would travel to the lunar surface.

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