Astronaut Hoshide eager to play sports at space station
Tokyo: Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, who is scheduled to stay at the International Space Station for four months from July, said on Wednesday in Tokyo that he is eager to play some sports during this summer`s Olympics while orbiting the Earth.
The 43-year-old astronaut told a press conference that he would like to take time observing the Earth from the space station. A Russian Soyuz space capsule carrying Hoshide and two other astronauts will lift off on July 15 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The launch of the space capsule that will also carry Yuri Malenchenko of Russia and Sanita Williams of the United States was originally scheduled in late May but delayed by two months due to problems with the spacecraft.
Hoshide said he remains motivated despite the mission`s delay, saying it is no problem for him to wait for liftoff.
The Japanese astronaut, who stayed on the ISS for around two weeks in 2008 to install Japan`s Kibo research laboratory, plans to release five small satellites from the space station using a robot arm and spring.
"Last time, I set up a Japanese house in the station, but returned home without using it. I`d like to revisit the house and conduct experiments," Hoshide said, referring to the cylinder-shaped Japanese pressurized module for scientific experiments.
He is expected to return to the Earth around November after conducting scientific experiments, ISS operations and robot arm maneuvers, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.