Japan will became the third-placed nation in terms of how many days its astronauts have spent in space, behind Russia and the United States.
According to data collected by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, nine Japanese astronauts will have spent a combined total of 494 days in space as of Sunday, overtaking the 493-day total of 10 German astronauts.
As of Sunday, Russia will be in first place with 20,760 days shared between 104 astronauts, while the United States will have sent 331 astronauts into space for a total of 14,786 days.
The nine Japanese astronauts include Toyohiro Akiyama, 69, who in 1990 became the first Japanese in space. Akiyama, then a TV reporter, traveled into space aboard a Soyuz spacecraft of the former Soviet Union.
Satoshi Furukawa, 47, is currently staying at the International Space Station on a long-term mission.
Japan ranked seventh on the list at the end of 2009, but has moved up thanks to ISS stays by Soichi Noguchi, 46; Naoko Yamazaki, 40; and Furukawa.
But Japan’s cumulative total is far behind that of Russia, which had its own space station, Mir, and the United States, the first nation to land a human on the moon.
Teruhisa Tsujino, a JAXA official in charge of international affairs, said, “China ranks 12th with 20 days spent in space, but that total could rise quickly as China has plans to build its own space station.”
Above is Satoshi Furukawa