Norishige Kanai
Norishige KanaiFacebook

Everyone talks about Russians and Americans who travel to the International Space Station, but in 2017, there is going to be an astronaut from Japan who will head to space. A Maritime Self-Defense Force doctor, Norishige Kanai, 39, decided that he wanted to head "from deep sea to space."

In October 2017, Norishige Kanai will head out to the International Space Station in the Soyuz aircraft from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). During the 54th/55th Expedition Mission, Kanai will be in charge of ISS operations as a flight engineer, and science experiments using the space environment.

"I believe my unique background . . . as an SDF doctor specialising in undersea medicine . . . allows me to contribute to the mission by adding new ideas to the field of space. Like (Nemo) in the movie 'Finding Nemo,' I was always looked after by my colleagues to see if I hadn't disappeared. Following the group, I could finally become an astronaut," he told Japan Times. Kanai's call sign in the operation is Nemo.

Norishige Kanai
Norishige KanaiFacebook

Kanai is the 12th Japanese astronaut to head into space. He was certified as an ISS astronaut in 2011. According to the JAXA website, Kanai was born in 1976 in Tokyo and brought up in Chiba. He went to study at the National Defense Medical College and then worked at National Defense Medical College Hospital, Japan Self Defense Force Ohminato Hospital and Japan Self Defense Force Hospital Kure. He then was placed in the Medical Service Division, 1st Service School, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force as a Lieutenant and a Diving Medical Officer. He was selected to be a candidate by JAXA and joined it in September 2009.

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