Astronaut Soichi Noguchi, who is set to travel to the International Space Station later this week aboard a rocket developed by U.S. aerospace manufacturer SpaceX, said Tuesday he hopes the mission will inspire dreams for a "new future" amid difficult times brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Space flight itself is (marked with) a history of challenges. I hope it leads to the discovery of new possibilities and developments," he said during a virtual news conference organized by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Admitting he was both nervous and excited about the upcoming launch aboard the Crew Dragon capsule on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the 55-year-old said, "There are risks and a fear of failure when challenging oneself but I believe the benefits far outweigh that fear."