Japanese astronaut apologises for overestimation of growth spurt

"Good Morning, everyone. Today I share some serious news", Kanai tweeted.

He has taken to Twitter to express concern he won't fit in the Russian Soyuz vehicle set to take him home in June.

Aboard the Russian rocket are Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, U.S. astronaut Scott Tingle, and Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai.

"My height's been measured here in space and somehow, somehow, I've grown 9 cm!"

Yes. Lt Kanai, 41, is a Japanese doctor selected as an astronaut candidate by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in 2009.

This is a known phenomenon that astronauts "grow" during the space missions because their spines extend in the absence of gravity, but the gains are generally limited to a couple of centimetres and disappear once they are back on the ground.

"I have grown like a plant in just three weeks". Upon returning to earth and its gravitational pull, astronauts return to their usual height. "As a matter of fact, the tightness I had in my shoulders is gone so I'm pretty certain I did not grow 9 cm". His initial measurement was so extreme that he anxious he'd be too big for the tight space, which contains seat liners custom-molded for each astronaut and can not fit anyone above 6 feet, 3 inches tall.

Astronauts can grow while in space and return to a normal height when they go back to Earth.

"Nine centimetres is a lot, but it is possible, knowing that every human body is different".

Thankfully, with a growth of only two centimetres, he would be well below the 191-centimetre limit.

The seat aboard the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft that shuttles astronouts from earth to the International Space Station and back.

Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai says that he has grown 9cm in just three weeks - and now worries he won't fit into the capsule to return to our planet.

After an influx of media interest-and questions from his captain-Kanai chose to remeasure himself to find out how tall he had actually become.

  • Joey Payne