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Wednesday, 7th January 2009
In Japan Travel News,

Astronaut 'excited' about 2011 space trip

Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa has spoken of his excitement about his first trip into space.

Furukawa will blast off in spring 2011 and spend six months on the International Space Station.

Speaking at a news conference at the Japan Aerospace Exploration agency in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, he compared the trip with his love of baseball, commenting that he had been "practising my [baseball] swing".

Born in Yokohama, Mr Furukawa trained and worked as a gastroenterologist, reports the Mainichi Daily News.

He was selected to be an astronaut in February 1999 and has been preparing ever since.

"I want to make full use of my ability as a doctor to see how my physical condition will change after staying in space and prepare for a time in the future when anyone can go to space," he said.

When he sets off on his journey, Mr Furukawa may benefit from some new technology should he get caught short.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has invented a 'space nappy' which allows astronauts to excrete and urinate more conveniently.

Related news stories:
Astronaut Hoshide lands safely in Kazakhstan (19th November 2012)
Japanese astronauts 'enjoy on-board feasts' (9th October 2009)
Female Japanese astronaut heads into space (7th April 2010)