Koichi Wakata

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Koichi Wakata

Koichi Wakata is a Japanese engineer and astronaut. He flew three space shuttle missions and commanded the International Space Station (ISS). Wakata spent 347 days in space— longer than any other Japanese astronaut.

Wakata was born on August 1, 1963, in Saitama, Japan. As a boy, he loved the idea of going into space. However, there was no space travel program in Japan, so he did not think he would be able to go to space. Instead, he focused on airplanes. He wanted to be an engineer or a pilot. In 1987 Wakata received a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Kyushu University in Fukuoka. He went on to earn a master’s degree (1989) and a doctorate (2004) from Kyushu as well.

Learn about Koichi Wakata (Astronaut): Birthday, bio, family, parents, age, biography, born (date of birth) and all information about Koichi Wakata. From 1989 to 1992 Dr. Wakata worked as an aircraft structural engineer for Japan Airlines. Selected as an astronaut candidate by the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA, currently. Koichi Wakata is a Japanese engineer and astronaut. He flew three space shuttle missions and commanded the International Space Station (ISS). Wakata spent 347 days in space— longer than any other Japanese astronaut. Wakata was born on August 1, 1963, in Saitama, Japan. Koichi Wakata, performing calligraphy on board Kibo Shooting Date: January 1, 2014.

In 1989 Wakata began work as an engineer for Japan Airlines. In 1992 the agency that is now the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) chose Wakata to be an astronaut. He was sent to the United States to train at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Texas. In 1996 he flew as the first Japanese mission specialist on a space shuttle. In 2000 he traveled to the ISS on the space shuttle Discovery. He became the first Japanese astronaut to work on the ISS.

In 2014, when Wakata was once again on the ISS, he became the first Japanese commander of the ISS. Two years later, Wakata became the JAXA ISS program manager.

Koichi Wakata

Astronaut Koichi Wakata

TOKYO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dentsu Inc. (TOKYO:4324) (ISIN:JP3551520004) (President & CEO: Tadashi Ishii; Head Office: Tokyo; Capital: 74,609.81 million yen) announced today that on December 6, 2013, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata and robot astronaut Kirobo held a conversation experiment on board the International Space Station (ISS).

The conversation, the first of its kind between a human and a robot in outer space, represents the latest development in the KIBO ROBOT PROJECT, a joint research project being carried out by Dentsu, the University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, ROBO GARAGE Co., Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corporation. JAXA is also providing extensive assistance.

Experiment content:
1. Autonomous conversation using voice recognition technology
2. Communication with people on Earth

Extract from the conversation experiment (translation)

Wakata: How did you get out here into space, Kirobo?
Kirobo: On a Kounotori* from Tanegashima.
Wakata: Oh, so you flew all the way into space on a bird?
Kirobo: It wasn’t a bird, it was the Kounotori rocket.
Wakata: It’s incredible that you came here all by yourself.
Kirobo: Well, I’m a robot!

*Kounotori is the Japanese word for “white stork” and is also the name of the H-II Transfer Vehicle used with the H-IIB Launch Vehicle.

Dr. Koichi Wakata

Further conversations will be held, and conversation logs and other data will be gathered and utilized by the project participants. The key aims of the project are to facilitate the coexistence of people and robots, and to explore possible future deployment of communication robots in outer space.

Kirobo’s basic specifications

-- Dimensions: Height: 34 cm, Width: 18 cm, Depth: 15 cm (approx.)
-- Weight: 1000 g (approx.)
-- Language: Japanese
-- Main features: Voice recognition, natural language processing, voice (speech) synthesis, telecommunications functions, gestures, facial recognition camera, recording camera

Key project developments to date

Nov 29, 2012 The project is announced; the public begins proposing robot names.
Jun 26, 2013 Kirobo and backup (ground) crew member Mirata are completed and introduced at a press conference.
Aug 4, 2013 Kirobo leaves Japan for the ISS aboard the Kounotori 4 transfer vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Center.
Aug 10, 2013 Kirobo arrives at the ISS.
Aug 21, 2013 Kirobo speaks his first words in outer space:
“On August 21, 2013, a robot took one small step toward a brighter future for all.”

For reference

Nov 7, 2013 JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata boarded the Russian spacecraft Soyuz and arrived at the ISS the following day.
Astronaut koichi wakata

Future project plans

Dec 2014 Kirobo scheduled to return to Earth.

Kibo Robot Project website: http://kibo-robo.jp/en/
Twitter: @kibo_robo (Japanese language only)

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Koichi Wakata Nasa

About the Dentsu Group

Led by Dentsu Inc. (TOKYO:4324) (ISIN:JP3551520004), the world's largest advertising agency brand with a history of 112 years, the Dentsu Group offers a comprehensive range of client-centric communications and media services in 110 countries across five continents. Its Japan-wide network and London-based global operating unit Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd., which oversees the operations of Aegis Media, a leading global media and digital communications specialist, as well as those of the Dentsu Network, which manages all of Dentsu's other global business operations outside Japan, together employ more than 37,000 dedicated professionals. The Group is also active in the production and marketing of sports and entertainment content on a global scale.

Dentsu Inc.: www.dentsu.com
Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd: www.dentsuaegisnetwork.com
Dentsu Network: www.dentsunetwork.com