Photo of the Philippines taken by JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi (inset). (Photo copied from Twitter)
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — While aboard the International Space Station (ISS) orbiting the earth, a Japanese astronaut was able to snap a photo of the Philippine islands from space that he subsequently posted on his Twitter account.
Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), shared on Wednesday (March 7) morning the rare photo of the archipelago and he tagged it as “Beautiful #Philippines islands!”
Noguchi’s post elicited several comments from netizens, like “It’s the Philippines from space” from Adrian Quijano (@AdrianQ55345350), “Thank you for taking a snap of our country. Indeed Philippines is breathtaking” from Haruka Shino (@HarukaShino3) and finally, “In the Philippines you’ll find 7,640 islands. But not all of them is ours, not anymore” from Neil (@neiljstns).
Noguchi, who holds degrees in aeronautical engineering and advanced interdisciplinary studies, also posted space views of other countries including his home country Japan, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, and Israel, among others.
The JAXA astronaut is an Expedition 64 Flight Engineer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and according to the American space agency, some of the investigations of crew members of Expedition 64 is growing radishes in a study to better understand plant growth and nutrition in microgravity, conduct cancer therapy research, study how mining with microbes might be used on asteroids and continue research into the effects of microgravity on the heart.
Noguchi’s first spaceflight was as a Mission Specialist aboard STS-114 on July 26, 2005, for NASA’s first “return to flight” Space Shuttle mission after the Columbia disaster in 2003. He was also in space as part of the Soyuz TMA-17 crew and Expedition 22 to the International Space Station (ISS), returning to Earth on June 2, 2010.
The sixth Japanese astronaut to fly in space, the fifth to fly on the Space Shuttle and the first to fly on Crew Dragon, Noguchi’s third flight is onboard the Dragon 2 capsule for the SpaceX Crew-1 mission which launched successfully on November 15, 2020. This makes him one of only three astronauts to fly on three different launch systems and one of three to fly an orbital mission on three different launch systems.
Noguchi was born in 1965 in Yokohama, Japan but he considers Chigasaki, Japan, to be his hometown. He holds flight instructor certificates as Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII) and Multi-Engine Instructor (MEI).
He graduated from Chigasaki-Hokuryo High School in 1984 and then studied at the University of Tokyo, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1989 and a master’s degree in 1991, both in Aeronautical Engineering. He also holds a PhD. in Philosophy in Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Tokyo.
After graduation, Noguchi worked for Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries, assigned to the research and development department of their Aero-Engine and Space Operations division.
He worked on aerodynamic design of commercial engines. He was selected as an astronaut candidate by the National Space Development Agency of Japan (now part of JAXA) in June 1996, and in August 1996, he reported to NASA’s Johnson Space Center for NASA astronaut training.
Following STS-114, he was assigned as a backup ISS Flight Engineer for JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata, who became the first Japanese astronaut to live long-duration aboard the space station and after this assignment, JAXA assigned Noguchi to the crew of ISS Expedition 22/23 alongside Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov and NASA astronaut Timothy Creamer. (AI/MTVN)