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Japan's Noguchi to return to Earth on April 28 aboard SpaceX ship

Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi is pictured at the International Space Station in February 2021. (Photo courtesy of JAXA/NASA/Kyodo)

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi and three U.S. astronauts who traveled to the International Space Station aboard the commercially developed SpaceX Crew Dragon ship will return to Earth on April 28, NASA said Monday.

    The four members of the Crew-1 mission, also including Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, have been staying on the ISS since November, following the space ship's successful second manned flight to the orbiting laboratory. It was also the ship's first journey with a Japanese astronaut.

    Another Crew Dragon capsule is scheduled to launch to the ISS no earlier than April 22 with the Crew-2 mission -- Japan's Akihiko Hoshide along with two astronauts from NASA and one from the European Space Agency.

    This will mean there will be several days when two Japanese astronauts will be present in the ISS at the same time. Such a situation has not happened since 2010 when astronaut Naoko Yamazaki joined Noguchi at the ISS.

    About five days after the Crew-2 arrival at the ISS, Crew-1 plans to splash down off the coast of Florida, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    Crew Dragon, developed by Space Exploration Technologies Corp., founded by tech billionaire Elon Musk, is NASA's first-ever certified commercial human spacecraft system.

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