Japan rejuvenates astronaut ranks with 28-year-old surgeon

Two civilian recruits formally became a part of Japan’s space programme on Monday, injecting some much required youth into its ranks, given the nation’s six active astronauts have an average age of 52. Dr Ayu Yoneda, a 28-year-old surgeon with the Red Cross, will train for about two years before being thought about for a mission to the lunar surface. “I’ve been working to nourish people’s lives in the field of medicine,” she conveyed. “Now I’ll be getting the opportunity with doing so in space, where the focus is fundamentally same, but exists under different circumstances.”  Dr Yoneda started training in April on how to deal with the systems and software on the International Space Station.  Mr Makoto Suwa, 46, a senior employee for the World Bank, also started on Monday.

Both were chosen among 4,100 applications and presented formally to the public by Japan’s space agency, Jaxa, in February. It has been 14 years since Japan last enrolled candidates for space travel. Since the compulsory retirement age is 60, Jaxa is worried that there will be shortage of astronauts. Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida greeted Dr Yoneda and Mr Suwa at his office in Tokyo, where he greeted them and focused on the need of innovation and regaining the nation’s status as a leader in technology. With two failed efforts to launch its new flagship rocket – the H3, created and built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.