Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi will be one of seven crew members on the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis to be launched Jan. 16, the National Space Development Agency of Japan announced Friday.

The mission to help construct the International Space Station was initially scheduled for November, but NASA rescheduled the launch due to a delay in the construction of the ISS.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry and NASDA had issued a protest with NASA over the unilateral schedule change.

During the mission, Noguchi, 37, and three other astronauts are expected to deliver supplies to the ISS via a multipurpose supply module. The four will also be involved in extravehicular ISS construction work.

The three other crew members will replace three people already engaged in work on the station, according to NASDA.

The ISS is a 16-country joint project that includes Canada, Japan, Russia, the United States and European nations. It is scheduled to be completed in 2006.

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