Mission Report by Astronaut Koichi Wakata at `Imiloa

May 6, 2011


Photo: Astronaut Koichi Wakata.
(Credit: NASA)

On Tuesday, May 17th, `Imiloa Astronomy Center is the site of two events related to space exploration. In the event beginning at 4:15 and jointly sponsored by `Imiloa and Subaru Telescope, astronaut Koichi Wakata will share some of his experiences during three space shuttle flights and time on the International Space Station (ISS). In the second event, from 5:45 - 8 pm, budding space explorers may participate in a BrushBot event for grade school students on the Island of Hawaii.

Koichi Wakata graduated from Urawa High School and earned his doctorate in Aerospace Engineering from Kyushu University. His research has contributed significantly to his own field of aerospace and robotics. He currently belongs to the Human Space Technology and Astronauts Department of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. He has played major roles in building the Japanese unit "Kibo" (Hope) for the International Space Station (ISS). In 2013 he will return to space as the first Japanese commander of a space mission. Wakata says, "I am very honored yet also feel a heavy responsibility in being selected as a flight engineer for the 38th Expedition Mission as well as a commander for the 39th mission on the ISS.”

Guests may arrive as early as 4:00 at `Imiloa’s planetarium to welcome Wakata at 4:15 as he returns a banner (an “Official Flight Kit”) to the Director of the Subaru Telescope. The banner includes a picture of the Subaru Telescope as well as messages from the staff, wishing him well during the mission when he carried it into space. After a short ceremony, Wakata will talk about space exploration and project his own photos in the planetarium. The audience can glimpse at what it is like to fly to the ISS and to dine, walk, and sleep in space. This event is free, but the seating is limited to the capacity of the planetarium. There will be time for some questions before the presentation ends at 5:30.

The doors of Moanahoku Hall at `Imiloa will open at 5:45 for the next space-related event at `Imiloa. Until 8 pm, aspiring mission specialists may enjoy an introduction to robotics or show off their skills in maneuvering the robots they make. Called the BrushBotFESTival (FEST=Families Exploring Science Together), this free workshop for students in grades 2 - 8, is sponsored by the Future Flight Hawaii/Hawaii Space Grant Consortium, the award-winning Robotics Club of Waiakea High School, the Thirty Meter Telescope, and the Robotics Organizing Committee/Friends of Hawaii Robotics. Educator Dale Olive will also give one of his stimulating “science is fun” presentations.

Enrollment for the festival is limited. To register, send an email to Please include the name of the student, his/her grade level, current school, and the name of the parent attending the event with the student. Each participant must bring his/her own AAA battery. All registered participants will receive an email confirmation.



Astronaut Koichi Wakata Biography
`Imiloa Astronomy Center



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