• Kyodo

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The Russian Space Agency announced Thursday that a Soyuz spacecraft will take Japan’s Kimiya Yui and other astronauts to the International Space Station on July 23, TASS news service reported.

The announcement came on the same day that three astronauts returned from the ISS. Yui tweeted that he watched their return on TV with suspense.

“I have slightly different feelings watching the return knowing that next is finally our turn,” he said.

The launch was initially scheduled for May 27 but was postponed after the failed launch in April of a Progress cargo ship, which uses a similar rocket.

Another Progress unit will be launched July 3 to reach the ISS ahead of the Soyuz, the agency said. Its mission is believed to delivery of supplies for the incoming crew.

The Russian agency also said it will make a decision in the first half of August, at the very latest, on the passenger who will replace British singer Sarah Brightman, who has put off her scheduled visit to the ISS.

Japanese entrepreneur Satoshi Takamatsu, who is being trained as a replacement, has been cited as a potential candidate.

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