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N° 17–2001: First European astronaut visits the International Space Station

11 April 2001

Follow the Shuttle launch from various ESA establishments and monitor mission highlights live on the ESA web site.

ESA astronaut Umberto Guidoni from Italy will be the first European to visit the International Space Station when he lifts off aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour on 19 April with an international crew of seven, including Canada’s Chris Hadfield and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov.

On this ninth shuttle mission to the International Space Station the large Canadian robotic arm and a UHF antenna will be installed and the Italian-built logistics module Raffaello will deliver equipment, consumables and scientific experiments to the station’s Destiny laboratory module. At least two space walks will be needed to install the arm and antenna.

Launch of Endeavour from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is scheduled for Thursday 19 April with a ten-minute launch window opening at 14:41 local time (20:41 Central European Summer Time). It should land again at the Kennedy Space Center on 30 April.

This eleven-day mission will be Umberto Guidoni’s second spaceflight; he gained valuable experience on the 16-day Tethered Satellite Mission (STS-75) in 1996. His first job this time, will be to assist his fellow astronauts in attaching the Canadian robotic arm to the US laboratory. Following this, the Raffaello module will be steered from inside the Shuttle docking bay and attached in position on Node 1 (Unity). Guidoni will then get started on his “load master” function, which involves responsibility for unloading and reloading the Raffaello module – a delicate task calling for a lot of care and forward-planning. At the end of the mission the Raffaello module will come back to Earth in the Shuttle.

Each module is equipped with an Environmental Control and Life Support System, supplied by ESA. This sophisticated subsystem provides comfortable working conditions for the astronauts. Distribution of fresh air throughout the modules, temperature control, pressure monitoring, fire detection and suppression, and contamination monitoring are among the system’s main functions.

The system will also be used on ESA’s own Columbus laboratory, to be delivered to the International Space Station in 2004. Columbus will thus offer international crews a shirt-sleeve environment - much like that in an aeroplane – as they work on a wide variety of experiments in materials science, medicine, biology and technology.

Raffaello is one of three “multi-purpose logistics modules” developed by the Italian Space Agency, ASI, for NASA, with Alenia Spazio as prime contractor. The first module, Leonardo, made its debut last month, delivering the first major laboratory experiments and crew supplies to the Station. The Donatello module will make its first trip in July. Each module is designed to perform 25 missions during its 10-year operational life. And it was Italy’s development of these modules that earned ESA astronaut Guidoni his “ticket” to the International Space Station.

Media representatives in Europe can follow the STS-100 Space Shuttle mission from ESA/ESRIN in Frascati (Italy), ESA/ESTEC in Noordwijk (the Netherlands) or the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne (Germany). At each site, a presentation of the mission will be given by ESA specialists (also available as interview partners) followed by the live transmission of the launch images from KSC.

Doors open at 19:30 and the event will end at 21:30/22:00. Media representatives wishing to attend are requested to complete the attached reply form and fax it back to the Communication Office in the ESA establishment of their choice.

Two video transmission feeds will be available on 19 April, 20:00-21:00 hours CEST (18:00-19:00 GMT):
NASA-TV on NSS-K, 21.5 degrees West, XP H07, vertical, 11.591 MHz, 20.150 MS/sec, FEC ¾ (dig. channels 1, 2 or 3, MCPC).
ESA live coverage on Eutelsat W1 at 10 degrees East, XP B5, horizontal, 11.144 MHz, 5.632 MS/sec, FEC ¾ (dig channel 2, SCPC).
ESA will also transmit daily mission highlights. For the transmission schedule, visit http://television.esa.int

On 19 April an ESA-produced live stream of the launch can also be followed at 20:00-21:00 hours CEST on the special ESA web site at http://www.esa.int/guidoni. This site will be available throughout the mission and will offer video material and background information on the STS-100 mission and the International Space Station.

During the mission media representatives can also contact:

18-20 April
ESA Press Desk at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Franco Bonacina , tel: + 33.6.08.74.61.09
Brigitte Kolmsee, tel: + 33.6.86.49.19.81

20-30 April
ESA Press Desk at the Johnson Space Center, Houston
Clare Mattok, tel. + 33.6.08.75.83.95

For further information, contact:
ESA Communication Department
Media Relations Office
Tel. + 33 1 5369 7155
Fax. + 33 1 5369 7690

ASI Press Office
Francesco Rea
Tel. +39 06 8567 235
Fax. +39 06 8416 265


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