First Japanese mother to travel into space in 2010

November 11th, 2008 - 2:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, Nov 11 (DPA) Naoko Yamazaki was selected to become the first mother and the second Japanese woman to travel into space, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said Tuesday.Yamazaki, 37, was chosen to board the US space shuttle Atlantis on a planned two-week mission in February 2010 to transport components to add on to the International Space Station, where Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi is to stay for six months starting around November next year.

“I would like to have a successful mission by fully demonstrating the result of training,” Yamazaki said at a news conference in Tokyo.

Yamazaki’s six-year-old daughter, Yuki, had congratulated her mother for being chosen for the mission, she added.

The astronaut mom stayed behind at the control centre in March when her colleague Takao Doi installed the Japanese-built laboratory Kibo on the space station.

Kibo, which means hope in Japanese, is almost complete and has been built so experiments can be carried out in microgravity environment.

Yamazaki joined the National Space Development Agency of Japan, the aerospace agency’s predecessor, in 1996. She was picked as an astronaut candidate in 1999.

She was certified as an astronaut in September 2001 and was selected as a mission specialist by the US space agency in 2006.

The first Japanese woman to go on a space mission was Chiaki Mukai, 56, who boarded space shuttles in 1994 and 1998.

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