The 37-year-old Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki will board the US shuttle Atlantis heading for the International Space Station in 2010, making her the second Japanese woman to travel into space.
Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki will board the US shuttle Atlantis when it launches in 2010, becoming the second Japanese woman to blast into space, the country's space agency announced Tuesday.
The 37-year-old, who has a six-year-old daughter, would be the seventh Japanese astronaut to go into space.
She was selected more than nine years after being chosen as an astronaut candidate for the International Space Station (ISS), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said.
The Atlantis is scheduled to lift off on February 11, 2010. During the two-week flight, the shuttle will carry supplies to the space station. Yamazaki is expected to operate the shuttle's robot arm.
"I am honored to be involved in the completion of the station. I would like my mission to be a success," she told a press conference.
The ISS is a multi-national research facility currently being assembled involving the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada and 11 European countries.
"My next ambition is to stay for an extended period on the ISS and afterwards, if Japan aims for the moon, I would also like to," she said, referring to Japan's goal of sending an astronaut to the moon by 2020.
She said she was inspired to become an astronaut as a teenager after watching the Challenger shuttle explode live on television in 1986, killing all seven astronauts on board.
"I was really surprised. But I thought that I would like to study more about space, which I loved," she said.
Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi is expected to stay in the ISS for six months starting in November 2009, so the two could meet in space.
Date created : 2008-11-11