Astronaut Noguchi Reflects on Career before Leaving JAXA

Science Society

Tokyo, May 26 (Jiji Press)--Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi has reflected on his 26 years in the profession ahead of his retirement from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, at the beginning of June.

"The 26 years since my selection as astronaut passed in a blink of an eye," Noguchi, 57, said at a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday. "After completing my three successful space flights, I felt it was time to pass the torch on to junior and future astronauts."

He said he hopes to be involved in giving advice for space-related projects and fostering talent mainly at research institutions after leaving JAXA.

Noguchi worked at Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., now IHI Corp. <7013>, before being selected as a JAXA astronaut candidate in 1996. He conducted a space flight aboard a U.S. Space Shuttle in 2005. He then went to space on a Soyuz spacecraft of Russia in 2009 and a Crew Dragon spacecraft from the U.S. private sector in 2020, staying on the International Space Station for a long period of time.

Noguchi said that he experienced burnout after his return from his third space flight in May 2021. "I thought it would be a good time for me to go out into the harsh world of the private sector and experience hardships again instead of staying in the comfortable environment (at JAXA), he said of the reason for his decision to leave the government-affiliated institution.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press