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Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide has been assigned a role at the International Space Station that is expected to keep him there for about six months from summer 2012, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said Wednesday.

Hoshide, 40, is the fourth Japanese astronaut to be selected for a long-term stay aboard the space station, where he is scheduled to engage in the operation of Japan’s Kibo laboratory module, the state-run JAXA said.

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