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Wednesday, 19th August 2009
In General Japan News,

Japan 'among established space countries'

Japan's place among the nations that regularly send vehicles into space is well established, a feature in the Economist notes.

Readers are told of how Japan sends numerous vehicles into space each year, as does India.

Neighbouring China is also a prolific base for space operations, with more launches each year than Europe since 2007.

For Japan in particular, 2006 was a busy year for space launches, as the nation sent up as many vehicles as China.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) recently welcomed home the first Japanese astronaut to spend an extended period of time aboard the International Space Station.

Astronaut Wakata arrived back to Earth on July 31st aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which touched down at the NASA Kennedy Space Centre at 23:48 local time.

However, the experimental module Kibo, which he assembled in space, remains in operation under the watch of specialists at the Tsukuba Space Center, JAXA added.

Written by Graham McPherson