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N° 19–2012: ESA astronaut André Kuipers returns to Earth

1 July 2012

ESA astronaut André Kuipers, together with his Russian Commander Oleg Kononenko and NASA astronaut Donald Pettit, has landed safely on the steppes of Kazakhstan at 08:14 GMT (10:14 CEST) in Soyuz TMA-03M.

During his six-month PromISSe mission on the International Space Station, André conducted over 50 scientific experiments in the world’s only permanent microgravity laboratory.

Now that the orbital outpost is fully assembled, astronauts on the Space Station can devote more time to research.

A medical doctor by training, André conducted biophysics experiments that could offer insights into fighting osteoporosis, migraines and immune cell death. He also performed experiments in other domains such as biology or looking at improving computer models of fluids. Some experiments might serve to prepare for further exploration of space.

In addition to his scientific workload, André carried out maintenance and operational tasks. Highlights included receiving ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle Edoardo Amaldi cargo ferry and docking the first commercial spacecraft, Dragon.

André has been sharing the privilege of living in space with the world via social media. His photographs, blogs and tweets have been followed closely by millions worldwide bringing spaceflight closer for people on Earth.

The crew will now fly to Houston, Texas, where they will undergo medical checks before meeting the media on Friday 6 July at 13:00 GMT (15:00 CEST).

European media are welcome to follow the event and ask questions via a live video link at ESA’s ESTEC science centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Media can address André in English, Dutch and German.

The next ESA astronaut to board the Space Station is Luca Parmitano of Italy, who will fly on Soyuz TMA-09M in 2013 as member of Expedition 36/37.

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency is Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 19 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 17 are Member States of the EU.

ESA has Cooperation Agreements with nine other States of the EU and is negotiating an Agreement with the one remaining (Bulgaria). Poland is in the process of becoming ESA’s 20th Member State. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System, and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

For further information, please contact:

ESA Media Relations Office

Communication Department

Tel: + 33 1 53 69 72 99

Fax: + 33 1 53 69 76 90

Email: media@esa.int

For further information:

ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: +33(0)1.5369.7299
Fax: +33(0)1.5369.7690



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