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Japan recruits astronauts for first time in decade

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) April 1, 2008
Japan on Tuesday began recruiting astronauts for the first time in a decade in the wake of a successful mission to carry Japan's maiden space laboratory to the International Space Station.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will pick three candidates using screening procedures such as aptitude tests, medical checks and interviews.

JAXA said it would announce its selections in February 2009.

The successful candidates will take various training programmes at NASA for two years before being certified as astronauts.

Three out of 864 applicants passed astronaut certification during the agency's last recruitment in 1998 and 1999.

Japan has an increasingly ambitious space programme. The US space shuttle Endeavour returned on March 26 after beginning to set up Japan's first space laboratory, "Kibo."

With its installation, Japan gains a foothold on the International Space Station alongside the United States, Russia and Europe.

"Kibo" will be the largest by far of the four research modules on board the station and represents the most important Japanese input to the project, to which Japan has contributed a total of 10 billion dollars.

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Minister Jim Prentice Announces New Astronaut Search For Canada
Longueuil, Canada (SPX) Apr 01, 2008
The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry Canada and the Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), announced at Agency headquarters that the CSA will begin a national astronaut recruitment campaign at the end of May 2008, to select astronauts to join its Canadian Astronaut Corps.

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