• Kyodo

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Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi will travel into space in July 2002 as a crew member aboard the U.S. space shuttle Endeavour, the National Space Development Agency of Japan announced Tuesday.

Noguchi, 35, and the rest of the seven-member Endeavour crew will take part in construction work on the International Space Station and Noguchi may have a chance to work outside the shuttle, NASDA officials said.

He will be the fifth Japanese astronaut to fly aboard a space shuttle following Mamoru Mohri, Chiaki Mukai, Koichi Wakata and Takao Doi. It will be the eighth flight for a Japanese.

Tuesday’s announcement followed a meeting Monday between NASDA President Shuichiro Yamanouchi, who is currently visiting the United States, and Daniel Goldin, a senior official of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASDA officials said.

During its July flight, Endeavour will transport a multipurpose module loaded with supplies and take up other components to the ISS. The crew will also put some of these components in place.

It will be the 16th shuttle flight related to the construction of the ISS.

Noguchi became a NASDA astronaut after passing the agency’s test in 1996 and qualified as a mission specialist in 1998. He has been training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas.

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