Japanese Astronaut Noguchi Marks 3rd Trip to Space

Science Society Technology

Tokyo, Nov. 16 (Jiji Press)--Veteran Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi marked his third trip to space as a U.S. spacecraft lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida bound for the International Space Station Monday morning Japan time.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft, developed by U.S. firm SpaceX, was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 9:27 a.m. Japan time (12:27 p.m. GMT).

Some 12 minutes after the launch, the Crew Dragon was separated from the rocket and successfully took its four crew members, including Noguchi, to orbit to the ISS. The spacecraft is scheduled to dock with the ISS around 1 p.m. on Tuesday to start their six-month stay.

In May, the Crew Dragon succeeded in a test flight carrying two U.S. astronauts. Noguchi, 55, became the first non-U.S. crew member to be on board the Crew Dragon. He will not take charge of the control of the spacecraft but support the flight by monitoring various data.

Noguchi, a former IHI Corp. <7013> engineer, traveled to the ISS aboard a U.S. space shuttle in July 2005 and a Russian Soyuz spaceship in December 2009. He became Japan's first astronaut to take a ride in three different spaceships. He experienced a long-term ISS stay once.

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