Japanese Astronaut Koichi Wakata Handed Command of Space Station

Command of the International Space Station was passed from cosmonaut Oleg Kotov to Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency during a ceremony on the orbital outpost on March 9. Wakata, who is now the first Japanese commander of the complex, will oversee Expedition 39, which officially begins with the departure of Kotov, NASA Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins and cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy on March 11 in their Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft. The trio arrived at the station in September 2013. Wakata, NASA Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio and cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin will be joined on March 26 by three new crewmates, cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev, NASA’s Steve Swanson and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.

Source: NASA Television

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