Astronaut Noguchi Soichi giving a Mission Debriefing in his Home Town (2005.10.2)
Astronaut Noguchi reported on his return from space in Chigasaki, his hometown. More than 1,350 people came to the meeting, held at the Chigasaki City Cultural Hall on October 2, 2005. People flocked to the screen set up in Chigasaki Central Park to view a live broadcast of the session. Before the session, Astronaut Noguchi and the other STS-114 crew members paraded through the town and were greeted by about 16,000 people.
Ms. Miho Kitajima of FM Yokohama’s program “The Breeze” hosted the reporting session. After she opened the session, Vice President Kaoru Mamiya of JAXA greeted the audience. When Astronaut Noguchi appeared, the audience welcomed him with tremendous applause. “I smelled the ocean when I got out of the car. Then, I knew I was home,” said Noguchi, who expressed his joy at seeing such a large number of people welcoming him. Following Noguchi's greeting, Commander Eileen Collins, Pilot James Kelly, Astronaut Stephen Robinson, Astronaut Andrew Thomas, and Astronaut Charles Camarda introduced themselves.
The crew presented official flight souvenirs to Kanagawa Prefecture’s Governor Matsuzawa and to ChigasakiCity’s Mayor Hattori. The Mayor awarded the Chigasaki City Honor Award to Astronaut Noguchi. He also presented a memorial plaque to the crew. With the overwhelming support of the citizens of Chigasaki, Chairman Tanaka of the Chigasaki Chamber of Commerce & Industry presented aloha shirts to the crew.Astronaut Noguchi was chosen as the first man to leave his handprint on the newly established “Tegata Road” (“Road of Handprints”). The road is located in front of Chigasaki Station, and the handprints of prominent figures related to Chigasaki will be collected and exhibited.
In the debriefing, Astronaut Noguchi explained the mission from launch to landing while the audiences viewed a video. “During the launch, it was as if I were being pulled up into space along with the seat that I was sitting in,” said Noguchi. They displayed photographs taken from the International Space Station (ISS) and the Space Shuttle, including views of various parts of Japan. The audience was excited to see photographs of the areas around Chigasaki, such as Enoshima and Eboshi-iwa (rock).
Astronauts Noguchi and Collins participated in a talk show. They discussed their reflections of how they felt about the mission, and talked about why they decided to follow their dreams of becoming astronauts. “Once you feel the splendor of moving towards your dream, you can probably pursue and achieve your dream.” Noguchi talked about making his dreams come true.
Later, a video showed a message from Makihara Noriyuki. Makihara asked, “How rough was it while penetrating through the stratosphere?”Astronaut Noguchi answered, “It takes eight and a half minutes after lift off to penetrate through the stratosphere. The last minute was the roughest part. The gravity was about three times what it is on the ground, and it was like having some one sitting on my chest.” The audiences burst into laughter when he humorously added, “When I am sleeping at home, my children climb up and sit on my chest. So, that was good training.”
During a question-and-answer session in the last part of the session, the questions asked concerned space food and life in zero gravity. “I felt like I was orbiting around the Earth along with the Space Shuttle, and I had become a star.”