[Koichi Wakata] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: Koichi Wakata
NASDA Astronaut

Born August 1, 1963, in Omiya, Saitama, Japan. Married to the former Stefanie von Sachsen-Altenburg of Bonn, Germany. They have one son. He enjoys flying, hang-gliding, baseball, tennis, and snow skiing. His mother, Mrs. Takayo Wakata, resides in Omiya, Saitama, Japan. His father, Mr. Nobutaka Wakata, is deceased.

Graduated from Urawa High School, Saitama, in 1982; received a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from Kyushu University in 1987; and a master of science degree in applied mechanics from Kyushu University in 1989.

Member of the Japan Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences, the Robotics Society of Japan, and the Japanese Society for Biological Sciences in Space.

Minister of State for Science and Technology Commendation. Special awards from Saitama Prefecture and Omiya City. National Space Development Agency of Japan Outstanding Service Award (1996). Diplome pilote-cosmonaute de l' URSS V.M. Komarov(1997).

Wakata joined Japan Airlines (JAL) in April 1989. He was assigned to the Base Maintenance Department, Narita, Chiba, where he was designated as a structural engineer. From July 1991 to May 1992, Wakata was assigned to the Airframe Group, Systems Engineering Office, Engineering Department of JAL. During his tenure with JAL, Wakata was involved in the research of structural integrity of transport aircraft, fatigue fracture, corrosion prevention program, and the environmental effects on fuselage polished aluminum skin on B-747, B-767 and DC-10 aircraft. He was selected by the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) in June 1992. Wakata is an instrument rated private pilot.

Wakata reported to the NASA Johnson Space Center in August 1992. He completed one year of training and is qualified for assignment as a mission specialist on future Space Shuttle flight crews. Wakata's technical assignments to date include: payload science support for the Astronaut Office Mission Development Branch (April 1993 to February 1995); Space Shuttle flight software verification testing in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL) (April to October 1994); Space Shuttle and Space Station Robotics for the Astronaut Office Robotics Branch (March 1996 to date).

Wakata flew as the first Japanese mission specialist on STS-72 (January 11-20, 1996), aboard Endeavour. During the 9-day flight the crew retrieved the Space Flyer Unit (launched from Japan 10-months earlier), deployed and retrieved the OAST-Flyer, and conducted two spacewalks to demonstrate and evaluate techniques to be used in the assembly of the International Space Station. In completing his first space flight, Wakata has logged a total of 214 hours and 41 seconds in space.

Wakata is currently assigned as a mission specialist on STS-92, the third Space Shuttle mission to assemble the International Space Station, scheduled for launch in June 1999.


Click here to return to the SPACE EDUCATORS' HANDBOOK HOME PAGE.