Japanese astronaut joins future Dragon crew

Soichi Noguchi
Veteran Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, seen here in 2010, is joining the crew of a SpaceX Crew Dragon flight to the International Space Station. (NASA Photo)

The first non-American to be added to the crew for a SpaceX Dragon flight to the International Space Station is Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

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ANA partners with space agency on telepresence

Avatar X roadmap
The Avatar X initiative would begin on Earth and move out to the International Space Station, other outposts, the moon and Mars. (ANA Holdings Graphic)

Telepresence robots on the moon and Mars? That’s the vision laid out for the partnership between ANA Holdings, the parent company of Japan’s All Nippon Airways, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The ANA-JAXA program, known as Avatar X, aims to establish a public-private consortium to develop new types of human-controlled robots that can collect data and perform tasks in remote locations. The concept is in line with the ANA Avatar Vision that was unveiled in March, as well as with JAXA’s new J-SPARC research and development program.

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