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Astronaut Soichi Noguchi said Wednesday he is looking forward to helping with construction work on the International Space Station when the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis is launched in January.

Noguchi, who will be involved in extravehicular activities, said from Houston, “I am looking forward to seeing a total picture of the Earth.”

He will be the second Japanese to engage in a spacewalk, following Takao Doi in 1997.

While attached to a tether, Noguchi will install a shelf, television camera and other items in the International Space Station.

The work is dangerous and astronauts face the risk of being hit by space debris.

“I have been training for emergencies with U.S. astronaut Stephen Robinson, who will join me so we can work together in perfect harmony,” Noguchi said via a television hookup with the National Space Development Agency of Japan in Tokyo.

Noguchi said he has been watching coverage of the World Cup soccer finals during his free time. He said he hopes his activities in space can stir hearts in the same fashion as the World Cup.

The ISS is a joint project involving 16 countries including Canada, Japan, Russia and the United States. It is scheduled to be completed in 2006.

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