“Toy­ohiro flew on the 11th ex­pe­di­tion to the Mir space sta­tion, ti­tled Soyuz TM-11”

All About Space - - Heroes of Space -

Ga­garin Cos­mo­naut Train­ing Cen­tre in present-day Rus­sia.

On 2 De­cem­ber 1990 the day had fi­nally come for Toy­ohiro as he be­came the first Ja­panese per­son in space, sur­pass­ing his fel­low coun­try­man who were wait­ing to travel to space through the United States’ space pro­gram. Toy­ohiro flew on the 11th ex­pe­di­tion to the Mir space sta­tion, ti­tled Soyuz TM-11, along with Soviet cos­mo­nauts Vik­tor Afanasyev and Musa Ma­narov.

Al­though the cost of the deal hasn’t been re­leased, the So­vi­ets claimed that they re­ceived £10.7 mil­lion ($14 mil­lion) and la­belled it their first com­mer­cial space­flight. For eight days on the Mir space sta­tion Toy­ohiro was broad­cast­ing his ex­per­i­ments and ex­pe­ri­ences, mak­ing one ten-minute tele­vi­sion broad­cast and two 20-minute ra­dio broad­casts each day.

This once-in-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ence was brought to an end for the chainsmok­ing re­porter for TBS aboard the Soyuz TM-10. This con­cluded the multi-mil­lion-pound com­mer­cial space ex­trav­a­ganza and put Toy­ohiro in the his­tory books as not only the first Ja­panese astro­naut, but the first ‘space cor­re­spon­dent’.

Toy­ohiro left TBS in 1995 and pur­sued a ca­reer in or­ganic farm­ing in Fukushima. How­ever, in March 2011 the farm was hit by a nu­clear dis­as­ter and Toy­ohiro was forced to leave his farm be­hind. Af­ter­wards he took up a fac­ulty po­si­tion with the Ky­oto Univer­sity of Art and De­sign in Ky­oto, Ja­pan. In an in­ter­view with The Ja­pan Times he de­scribed see­ing Earth from space with fas­ci­nat­ing words: “But what still struck me as im­pres­sive was the shin­ing blue Earth, which looked like one form of life float­ing in the uni­verse,” Toy­ohiro said.

“At the same time I was re­minded of the thin­ness of the blue layer, which is the at­mos­phere. So it made me vis­ually aware that the at­mos­phere is so thin, and such a thin at­mos­phere pro­tects ev­ery liv­ing thing – forests, trees, fish, birds, in­sects, hu­man be­ings and ev­ery­thing.”

Toy­ohiro con­ducted live re­ports from theMir space sta­tion

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