On November 7, 2013 (Thursday), an event for the public viewing of the launch of a Soyuz spacecraft carrying astronaut Koichi Wakata, an alumnus of Kyushu University, was held at the Big Sando underground restaurant of the Ito Campus.
Around 200 students and teachers of the university gathered in the event hall to watch the launch on a live Internet broadcast provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on a huge TV screen, starting in the lunch break and extending into the time of afternoon lessons. The Soyuz was launched at 1:14 p.m. as scheduled. When a successful launch was announced, the hall was filled with a burst of applause and cheers. Attractions such as a performance by the Kyushu University mixed chorus and a lottery for space-related goods added to the enthusiastic atmosphere of the event.
This event was planned by the public relations office’s student staff. The Kyushu University CO-OP provided space-related goods granted through the lottery and the “space curry” for sample tasting.
Astronaut Wakata, who is now on his fourth space mission, will stay aboard the International Space Station for around six months, and from March 2014, he will serve as the ISS commander, becoming the first Japanese person to do so. He will command and supervise a five-member crew comprised of U.S. and Russian astronauts.
Kyushu University is scheduled to hold an event in which real-time communications will be conducted between the Hakozaki campus and astronaut Wakata aboard the ISS (see a press release dated October 2, 2013). The whole of Kyushu University will continue to support astronaut Wakata’s space mission.
(Top) Visitors watching a live video of the launch of the Soyuz spacecraft
(Middle)A scene of the lottery for space-related goods
(Bottom) Visitors being interviewed by a TV station