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More women urged to work in space

HOUSTON (KYODO): Three women, who are among the seven crew members of space shuttle Discovery slated to lift off on April 5 for the International Space Station, have called for more women to engage in space-related jobs.

At a preflight news conference held on Tuesday at NASA's Johnson Space Center here, 39-year-old Naoko Yamazaki of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said she wants more young women to be interested in science and engineering.

She said that she herself was inspired by Chiaki Mukai, the first Japanese female astronaut who flew in space twice in 1994 and 1998.

Female astronauts Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger and Stephanie Wilson were also present at the press conference.

It will be the first time since 1999 and the third time that three women have boarded a space shuttle. They are expected to join another woman in a long-term mission on the ISS, bringing the number of women concurrently in space to four for the first time.

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