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Future astronaut from Japan studies in VSUES

Future astronaut from Japan studies in VSUES
13:01 19.06.2014

Yuriy Kamikawa is a young man from Japan who wants to conquer the Universe. He came to Vladivostok and became a student of VSUES for several weeks.

It is not a common thing that a future astronaut becomes a student of VSUES. So, we decided to ask Yura why he needed the Russian language, where one could learn to become a cosmonaut and why he wanted to go to the Moon.

Age: 25 y.o.

Where he is from: Beppu city, Oita Prefecture, Japan

Education: University of Washington, Seattle, USA

2012 - Bachelor in Aeronautics and Astronautics

2014 - Master in Aeronautics and Astronautics (specialized in plasmas physics)

- The distance from the Earth to the Moon is not a short one. What are you doing to become an astronaut?

- At the age of 16 I visited a space airfield. There I had a conversation with an engineer of JAXA (Japanese agency of space research). He suggested that I should go to the United States and enter a university there in order to become an astronaut. I opted for the Washington University.  Fourteen graduated from this university have already become real astronauts. When I arrived in the USA, I spoke English not very well, but I was allowed to become a student with such a level of knowledge.

-This year you have graduated from the university and returned home, to Japan.  What do you plan to do next?

-This autumn I will set to work at a factory in Tokyo as an engineer designing solar panels. This factory belongs to a well-known Japanese corporation which can become an investor of JAXA. In this case I could help them with a promotion by becoming their first employee-astronaut.

-How is casting for astronauts held in Japan?

- Every 4 years JAXA screens over. The last selection was made in 2009. There were more than 900 candidates. There was no selection in 2013. The next one will be in 2017. There are several stages in the selection. First stage is the English language. Second one is written answers to questions on the Japanese language, natural and technical sciences and a psychologist examination. The next step is oral answers to the same themes. At this stage only 20 candidates were left over in 2009. The last step is the most difficult one. There is a special exam and one needs to prove that he is the person to go to space. First stages are not a problem for me, but the last one is really difficult.

- Have you decided what you will answer to the question why it must be you?

- Why do I want to become an astronaut? When I was 6 or 7 years old I thought about the past and the future. When I was 15 years old I realized what I should do. I believe that the space will help to know the future. It is our care of the future for our planet and I want to help the humanity. Also, I was told that my chances equaled 10%. It is enough for me to want to devote my whole life to this dream. 

- Who is your favorite astronaut?

- This is an American astronaut Neil Armstrong.

-You speak Russian pretty well.  Where did you learn it?

-I have been learning it in the USA for more than 3 years and my teachers were Russians.  This will be to my advantage during the shortlisting.

-Do you like it in Russia?

-It is my first time in Russia. I like Vladivostok and people here. In the Japanese city I am from people are also kind.

-You have been in VSUES for more than one week. How do you find it here?

- I like it here very much. I like teachers from the School of foreign languages and here is a great location – in the center, everything is near.