Japanese surgeon’s dream to become an astronaut finally came true

9 Jun

Have you heard the news about 古川聡さん (Satoshi Furukawa)?

He was born in Yokohama and graduated from the prestigious 「東京大学」 (University of Tokyo) with a medical degree in in 1989 (at the age of 25).

From 1989 until 1999, he worked as a 外科医 (surgeon) in various hospitals around Tokyo.

Then, in 1999 (at the age of 35), he was accepted by the Japanese Space Agency for astronaut training for the potential chance to work at the International Space Station.

Ten years ago, in 2001, Dr. Furukawa successfully completed his training and was certified as an 宇宙飛行士 (astronaut).

Dr. Satoshi Furukawa, surgeon / astronaut

Since becoming certified as an astronaut, Dr. Furukawa has spent the past ten years working for Japan’s Space Agency and he completed training at Russia’s cosmonaut training center and also at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas.

Well, two days ago (2011 June 7), at the age of 47, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa finally saw his dream to work on the International Space Station come true.

Dr. Furukawa of Japan, Sergey Volkov of Russia, and Michael Fossum were onboard a Russian rocket that launched on June 7 from Russia and will dock at the International Space Station sometime today (2011 June 9).
The three astronauts (cosmonaut) are scheduled to work on the space station until sometime in 2011 November and then they’ll return home.

Patch for the current ISS mission of astronauts Furukawa, Fossum and Volkov

10 Responses to “Japanese surgeon’s dream to become an astronaut finally came true”

  1. Mom June 15, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    This is a very inspiring story and I am also glad that his dream job became a reality! Most people would have given up especially if they had put the time in on another career and one that took years of college. I admire him because he didn’t let anything, like his age or the fact that he already had a career, keep him from persuing his dream.


    • tokyo5 June 15, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

      He’s a living example that perseverance pays off.


  2. RH June 12, 2011 at 12:18 am #

    Very interesting post, he was really dedicated to his dream and it happened for him. I’m happy for him.


    • tokyo5 June 12, 2011 at 12:41 am #

      Yeah, he didn’t give up and his dream came true.


  3. nihongozuki June 9, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    I am also glad that his dream came true.
    By the way the third Soviet cosmonaut was of the same nationality as I am: he was Chuvash. Andriyan Nikolayev There is even microrayon(microdistrict) in the city, where I live, called Baikonur.


    • tokyo5 June 9, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

      The first man on the moon was American…but the first man in space was Russian.


  4. David June 9, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Interesting that on the badge they wrote Volkov in Russian, and Fossum in English, but didn’t write Furukawa in Japanese.


    • tokyo5 June 9, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

      I noticed that too…but the Russian company that made that patch probably aren’t able to print in Japanese.


  5. gigihawaii June 9, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    5 months? That’s a long time to be in space, especially for a first timer. I am glad his wish came true.


    • tokyo5 June 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

      Yeah, five months is a long time but it’s undoubtedly financially more logical to make fewer journeys of longer duration than many short ones.


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