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June 2, 1997
Debra Rahn
Headquarters, Washington, DC
Phone: 202/385-1639)

Eileen Hawley/James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Release: 97-117

Wakata Named to Station Assembly Flight

Japanese Astronaut Koichi Wakata will fly on STS-92, the third Space Shuttle mission to assemble the International Space Station, set for a January 1999 launch on Atlantis.

Wakata's assignment to the mission was announced by NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin and Japanese Science and Technology Agency Minister Riichiro Chikaoka, in Tokyo, Japan, today.

"NASA is honored to have Mr. Wakata participate in such an early and significant space station assembly mission," Goldin said. "His participation on this flight is symbolic of the close bond that has developed between the American and Japanese space programs, and the extent to which we rely upon one another to meet our mutual objectives in space."

Wakata was selected as an astronaut in 1992 and has one previous space flight to his credit. He flew as a Mission Specialist on STS-72 in January 1996 aboard Endeavour. During that flight, the crew retrieved the orbiting Space Flyer Unit satellite which was launched from Japan 10 months earlier, and deployed and retrieved the OAST-Flyer satellite.

On STS-92, he will be the primary operator of the Shuttle's Remote Manipulator System robot arm supporting space station assembly tasks to be performed during four scheduled spacewalks. STS-92 will be the fifth assembly flight and will build on previous American and Russian flights beginning with the launch of the Functional Cargo Block (FGB) in June 1998. Prior to the arrival of Atlantis and the STS-92 crew, space station elements already delivered to orbit will include the FGB; Node 1 and two Pressurized Mating Adapters; the Service Module; and various logistical cargos that will be carried aboard the second Shuttle assembly mission in December 1998.

The remaining crew members will be named at a later date. For complete biographical information on Wakata and other astronauts, see the NASA Internet astronaut biography home page at URL:

For information on the International Space Station, visit the Space Station home page at URL:


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