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Meet Japanese Astronaut Soichi Noguchi

Japanese aeronautical engineer and JAXA astronaut, Soichi Noguchi, reflects on his time in space

HOUSTON — JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi has always had a fascination for space, but his dreams of becoming an astronaut began after seeing the first space shuttle launch on television in 1981. 

Noguchi completed his master's degree in Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Tokyo in 1991 before being selected as an astronaut candidate by the National Space Development Agency of Japan (now JAXA).

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) does not currently run its own crewed spacecraft, but its astronauts can fly in space thanks to international cooperation from agencies like NASA. Soichi Noguchi received his training at Johnson Space Center before his first spaceflight as a Mission Specialist aboard STS-114. 

STS-114 was NASA's first "return to flight" Space Shuttle mission after the Columbia disaster.  

Noguchi is the sixth Japanese astronaut to fly in space and has a combined total of over 344 days spent in space. He also holds the world record for the longest time between spacewalks by an individual, 15 years and 214 days. 

In 2021, Noguchi was officially certified by Guinness World Records as the first astronaut to accomplish three different methods of Earth entry (runway, ground, and ocean).

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