Doi, Takao

Takao Doi is a Japanese astronaut who flew on two NASA space shuttle missions. He was born on September 18, 1954 in Minamitama, Tokyo, Japan. He earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Tokyo, and he researched at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science. In 1985, Doi was chosen to be an astronaut for the Japanese manned space program. He carried out more research in the United States at NASA’s Lewis Research Center and the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 1997, Doi flew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia on STS-87 as a mission specialist and became the first Japanese astronaut to conduct a spacewalk. The mission also performed many experiments with the United States Microgravity Payload and deployed the SPARTAN-201. It was completed in 252 Earth orbits and landed back to Earth on December 5, 1997.

He received doctorate in Astronomy from Rice University in 2004. In 2008, Doi flew aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-123 and visited the International Space Station. The crew delivered the first module of the Japanese laboratory, Kibō, as well as the Canadian Dextre robot to the space station. During this mission, Doi became the first person to throw a boomerang in space.

Doi is now retired and is working as the chief of Space Applications Section of United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. He is married to the former Hitomi Abe of Toukamachi, Niigata, Japan.