Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Astronaut Soichi Noguchi is available for interviews via satellite TV from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. EST, Wednesday, March 16.

Media interested in interviewing Noguchi must contact Michael Hare at the Johnson Space Center at: 281/483-8631 (office) or 713/708-0092 (pager) by 5 p.m. EST, March 15.

Noguchi will serve as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on the first Return to Flight mission, a 12-day flight, targeted for launch in mid-May. The mission will test new Shuttle safety improvements; deliver supplies and equipment to the International Space Station.

This is Noguchi’s first space flight. He is one of two crewmembers who will work outside the Shuttle to test new heat shield repair techniques, install a new Space Station gyroscope and other exterior equipment. Noguchi considers Chigasaki, Kanagawa, Japan, his hometown. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aeronautical engineering from the University of Tokyo. He was selected as an astronaut in 1996. For his biographical information on the Internet, visit: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/noguchi.html

Video highlights of Noguchi and the STS-114 crew training airs on NASA TV at 4:30 p.m. EST March 16; available via satellite in the continental U.S. on AMC-6, Transponder 9C, C-Band, at 72 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. In Alaska and Hawaii, NASA TV is available on AMC-7, Transponder 18C, C-Band, at 137 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 4060.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. NASA TV also is available on the Internet at: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv