Three astronauts from three continents at ESA
Last week, three space explorers from three continents and three space agencies met at ESTEC.
Cosmonaut Talgat Musabayev, now head of Kazakhstan’s national space agency KazKosmos, led a delegation from Kazakhstan on a tour of ESTEC accompanied by the Mayor of Noordwijk, the Netherlands Space Office and ESA astronaut André Kuipers.
NASA astronaut Millie Hilford-Hughes was at ESTEC as leader of an experiment that will be flown to the International Space Station. Millie’s research conducted with ESTEC’s life science labs is pioneering work looking at the inner workings of our immune systems at the molecular level. Millie took a break from her work to meet Talgat and André, bringing these explorers together in a unique meeting.
Talgat is an experienced cosmonaut with three spaceflights, and worked on the Mir space station as well as the International Space Station. He became head of KazKosmos in 2007.
Millie flew on Space Shuttle mission STS-40 in 1991 as the first female payload specialist on a NASA mission. Her work on biomedical adaptation to weightlessness continues today as experiment investigator.
André flew ESA’s single longest mission – his PromISSe mission that ended last year lasted 194 days, spent performing experiments and maintenance on the International Space Station.
The delegation from Kazakhstan was visiting the Netherlands on a friendship mission and to discuss plans to donate a memorial of André’s PromISSe mission that was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a Soyuz in 2011. The memorial will be placed on the Noordwijk boulevard near ESTEC.