Japanese astronaut Wakata to leave ISS after 5-month stay

Japanese astronaut Wakata Koichi is scheduled to end his months-long stay on the International Space Station and return to Earth in the coming days.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said on Friday that Wakata will leave the ISS on or after March 9, Japan time, ending his fifth space mission -- the most among his compatriots.

Since October, when his stay on the ISS began, he has made his first spacewalk and conducted experiments for future explorations of the moon and Mars.

Wakata told reporters on Tuesday that each time he has gone into space he thought it would be his last. He added that he is fortunate to have been able to make five space trips.
JAXA says Wakata holds the Japanese records for the longest stay in space and on the ISS.

He is due to return to Earth aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft manufactured by US company SpaceX.