Japan’s first female astronaut, Chiaki Mukai, to head U.N. space subcommittee


Chiaki Mukai, the nation’s first female astronaut, will chair a subcommittee of the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space starting next February, Japan’s permanent mission in Vienna said.

Mukai, 63, will be the first Japanese and the first female astronaut to head the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, an official with the mission said Monday. Her tenure will last a year.

The subcommittee deals with questions such as sustainability concerns, asking, for example, whether satellites are likely to create space debris. As chairwoman, Mukai will be tasked with leading discussions toward international cooperation on such issues.

Mukai’s space missions were aboard U.S. space shuttles in 1994 and 1998.