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Hello Kitty, Japan's ambassador of cute, is on a government-funded mission to space. The project to launch Sanrio Co Ltd's white cat with a pink bow into orbit is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to promote Japan's high-tech industry and engineer economic growth.

Sanrio announced this week, a 4-cm tall Hello Kitty figure is aboard the Hodoyoshi-3 satellite, looking through a window at Earth. Toshiki Tanaka, researcher in charge of the project at the University of Tokyo's Nano-Satellite Center said, the goal of the project is to get more private companies interested in working with satellites.

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