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Japanese Astronaut To Bring Noodles To ISS

Mr Noodle, with a packet of space noodles that his company invented.
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Feb 13, 2007
Veteran astronaut Koichi Wakata was named Tuesday as the first Japanese to stay long-term in space, and said he hoped to bring ramen noodles to the International Space Station. Wakata, 43, will be carried by a US space shuttle in the fall of 2008 and stay on the International Space Station for about three months to work with US and Russian astronauts, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said.

It will be a record third space trip for a Japanese astronaut, after Wakata took part in US shuttle missions in 1996 and 2000.

On the station, the flight engineer will set up a small laboratory -- to be called "Kibo" or "Hope" -- for Japan to carry out experiments.

"I feel quite honored," Wakata said at a news conference at the space agency's office in Houston, Texas. "It is an important step to further enhance the level of Japan's manned space activity."

"Since I believe that the chances will increase for Japanese astronauts' long-term stays, I want to check things out such as the clothing, food and accommodation" for future astronauts, he said.

"I especially want to try Japanese foods like delicious ramen," he said.

Ramen first blasted into space in 2005 when astronaut Soichi Noguchi went onto the US shuttle Discovery with a special vacuum pack of the usually dangling noodles.

Wakata was born in Saitama, north of Tokyo, and joined Japan Airlines in 1989. He moved to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in 1992 and a year later was accredited as Japan's first "mission specialist."

The International Space Station -- a joint venture between Canada, the European Space Agency, Japan, Russia and the United States -- orbits the earth at an altitude of 400 kilometers (250 miles).

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Instant Noodle Inventor Dies At 96
Tokyo (AFP) Jan 06, 2007
Japan on Saturday bade farewell to Momofuku Ando, known as the inventor of instant noodles that have become a global household product, after he died aged 96. Ando died of acute heart failure on Friday, said Nissin Food Products Co, the company he founded in 1948 in the aftermath of World War II and built into a multi-billion dollar empire.

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