Japan Times

Yamazaki installs station module


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Friday, April 9, 2010


Yamazaki installs station module

Husband and daughter select tune from ‘Laputa: Castle in the Sky’ to wake astronaut


HOUSTON (Kyodo) Naoko Yamazaki, one of the seven crew members of the space shuttle Discovery, completed her key mission Wednesday, using a robotic arm to connect the Leonardo cargo module to the International Space Station.

Yamazaki, 39, started her fourth day in space listening to a wakeup melody, “The Pigeon and a Boy,” together with the other Discovery crew members.

The song, written by Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi, is from the soundtrack to “Laputa: Castle in the Sky,” an animated film directed by Oscar-winning director Hayao Miyazaki. NASA said it was “played for Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Naoko Yamazaki.”

Her husband, Taichi, and their 7-year-old daughter, Yuki, requested the song as a wakeup melody for Yamazaki.

In a conversation with her husband and daughter, Yamazaki thanked them in English for picking the “pretty tune.”

Yamazaki also spoke in Japanese of her gratitude to her family members and many other people for their support. She vowed to do her best in performing her duties.

Developed by the Italian Space Agency, the Leonardo multipurpose logistics module is a large, pressurized container used on space shuttle missions to transfer cargo to and from the ISS.

The cylindrical module, named after Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, measures 6.4 meters in length and 4.6 meters in diameter.

NASA said Leonardo has delivered nearly 8 tons of cargo, one of the heaviest totals among modules used in space flight, including four experiment racks and the last crew quarters to arrive at the space station.

The module will remain with the space station as an extra room.

Yamazaki joined forces with crew mate Stephanie Wilson, 43, to manipulate the station’s robotic arm to pick up Leonardo and lift it out of the Discovery’s payload bay.

Other astronauts will prepare Leonardo’s hatch for opening to move the cargo into the space station.

Yamazaki will stay aboard the space station until April 16. The Discovery is scheduled to touch down on Earth on April 18.

-Japan Times




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