Middle- & Far-East Astronauts

Chiaki Mukai

Credit: NASA Public Domain

Dr Chiaki Mukai is a Japanese medical doctor and astronaut of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA (formerly, National Space Development Agency of Japan, NASDA), the first Japanese woman to fly in space, and the first Japanese citizen to fly twice. Dr Kass represented the European Space Agency in a working group organized by the NSBRI on Multicultural and International Issues in Space-Flight Research and Health Care, in which Chiaki Mukai also participated.


Ilan Ramon

Credit: NASA Public Domain

Colonel Ilan Ramon was a fighter pilot for the Israeli Air Force (IAF) and the first Israeli astronaut, who flew on the Space Shuttle (STS-107, 2003) representing the Israeli Space Agency. Dr Kass was a member of the ESA team who trained the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107 crew to operate the Biopack facility, which flew with this mission and was housed in the Shuttle’s middeck. This mission unfortunately ended in disaster when the craft disintegrated after re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, killing Ilan and his fellow crew.