July 25, 2011
Japan 3rd In Number Of Days Its Astronauts Have Spent In Space
Japan jumped ahead of Germany on Sunday to become the third nation in terms of time its astronauts have spent in space.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said its astronauts have spent 494 days in space, overtaking the 493-day total of 10 German astronauts.
Russia maintains first place with 104 astronauts spending a total of 20,760 days in space, while the U.S. holds second place with 14,786 days divvied up between 331 astronauts.
Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa helped carry the country to its third-place position as he spends time on a long-term mission aboard the International Space Station.
Japan was ranked seventh on the list at the end of 2009.
Teruhisa Tsujino, a JAXA official in charge of international affairs, said in a statement, "China ranks 12th with 20 days spent in space (in a row), but that total could rise quickly as China has plans to build its own space station."
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