Japanese astronaut joins the crew for SpaceX Dragon mission to space station

Alan Boyle
Veteran Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, seen here in 2010, is joining the crew of a SpaceX Crew Dragon flight to the International Space Station. (NASA Photo)

The first non-American to be added to the crew for a SpaceX Dragon flight to the International Space Station is Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

  • Noguchi first visited the space station in 2005 during the first space shuttle flight following the 2003 Columbia shuttle tragedy, and rode a Russian Soyuz spacecraft for a six-month orbital stay on the station in 2009-2010.
  • For his next mission, Noguchi will be teaming up with NASA’s Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover Jr. — plus Shannon Walker, who was also named today as a member of the first crew to begin a regular tour of duty on the space station with a Crew Dragon launch. The launch date hasn’t yet been announced, but it’s targeted for later this year.
  • Before that flight lifts off, SpaceX is due to launch two NASA astronauts — Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley — on a demonstration mission to the space station and back. Today NASA reported that Behnken and Hurley have been going through a series of launch-to-landing simulations in preparation for the Dragon test flight, which is scheduled for as early as May.

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