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Where is Japan’s equivalent of Elon Musk? Where’s the young entrepreneur with a huge bank balance and dreams to match? Where is that someone raised in these isles on sci-fi manga and space movies who wants to make human travel in space a reality?

In 2011, Musk — the billionaire founder of spacecraft and rocket company SpaceX — was awarded the Heinlein Prize for Advances in Space Commercialization. That award — made by the prize’s sponsoring body, the International Aeronautical Congress, in Bremen, Germany — was bestowed before his major breakthrough last month when, on May 25, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft docked with the International Space Station (ISS) some 400 km above Earth.

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