Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, who is scheduled for a four-month stint at the International Space Station starting in July, said in Tokyo that he is eager to “play some sports during this summer’s Olympics while orbiting” the Earth.
The 43-year-old astronaut told a news conference Wednesday that he would like to take time observing the Earth from the ISS. A Russian Soyuz space capsule carrying Hoshide and two other astronauts will lift off July 15 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The launch of the space capsule, which will also carry Yuri Malenchenko of Russia and Sanita Williams of the United States, was originally scheduled for late May but was delayed two months because of problems with the spacecraft.
Hoshide said he remains motivated despite the delay and has no problem with waiting. Hoshide went to the ISS for around two weeks in 2008 to install the Kibo research laboratory and plans to release five small satellites from the ISS using a robot arm and spring.
“Last time, I set up a Japanese house in the station, but returned home without using it. I’d like to revisit the house and conduct experiments,” Hoshide said, referring to the cylinder-shaped pressurized module that Japan uses to conduct its experiments.
He is expected to return to Earth around November after conducting the experiments, ISS operations and robot-arm maneuvers, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said.