Japan vies for a slice of the space pie with an eye on science and entrepreneurship

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk (right) and Nasa acting administrator Steve Jurczyk with astronauts inside the crew suit-up room, before the boarding of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket bound for the International Space Station. PHOTO: REUTERS
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TOKYO - Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide now commands the International Space Station (ISS), having lifted off to space last month on board a spacecraft built commercially by American company SpaceX.

This carries tremendous symbolism. Mr Hoshide, 52, is only the second Japanese astronaut to lead the ISS. His voyage on board a commercial craft also signifies a future of space exploration at the hands of profit-oriented entities.

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