For the sixth tine in its history, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will be recruiting astronauts as it gears up to support America’s plan to return people to the moon in 2024.
“We are preparing to recruit new astronauts around the fall of next year. We hope that many of you will apply to become astronauts who can also play an active role in lunar exploration,” said JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata in an announcement posted on the space agency’s website.
JAXA has hired 11 astronauts in five recruitment cycles dating back to 1985. The most recent round was in 2009 when three astronaut candidates were hired.
A total of 12 Japanese citizens have flown in space. Television journalist Toyohiro Akiyama became the first from his nation to reach orbit when he flew to the Soviet space station Mir aboard a Soyuz spacecraft in 1990. Akiyama, who spent nearly 8 days in space, was not part of the Japan’s official astronaut corps.