Chiaki Mukai (Born May 6, 1952, in Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture, Japan)
Mukai was the first Asian woman to fly into space. She was also the first Japanese woman in space and the first Japanese citizen to have two spaceflights.
She received both her Doctor of Medicine degree (1977) and a Doctorate in Physiology (1988) from Keio University School of Medicine. In 1989, she became a board-certified cardiovascular surgeon in the Japan Surgical Society.
From 1977 through 1978, Mukai worked as a resident in General Surgery, Keio University Hospital. She was on the medical staff in General Surgery, Shimizu General Hospital in Shizuoka in 1978 and on the medical staff in Emergency Surgery, Saiseikai Kanagawa Hospital in Kanagawa in 1979. She began her work as a resident in Cardiovascular Surgery, Keio University Hospital in 1980, and served on the medical staff in Cardiovascular Surgery, Saiseikai Utsunomiya Hospital in Tochigi in 1982. She returned to Keio University Hospital in 1983 as the chief resident in Cardiovascular Surgery and was later promoted to an assistant professor of the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Keio University.
In 1985, Mukai was selected by the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA, currently Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA) as one of the three Japanese Payload Specialists (PSs) for the First Material Processing Test (FMPT), which flew on the STS-47 (Spacelab) mission.
Her second spaceflight was on the STS-65 (the Second International Microgravity Laboratory: IML-2) mission in July 1994, which consisted of 82 life science (human physiology, space biology, radiation biology and bioprocess) and microgravity science (material and fluid science, research on microgravity environment and countermeasures) experiments.
Mukai is currently the Director of the JAXA Center for Applied Space Medicine and Human Research (J-CASMHR). [x][x]