First European woman heads for International Space Station
ESA PR 57-2001. ESA's French astronaut Claudie Haigneré will become the first European woman to visit the International Space Station (ISS) after she lifts off from Baikonur on board a Russian Soyuz vehicle on Sunday 21 October at 10:58 CEST (08:58 GMT) for a ten-day space mission.
The Soyuz will dock with the International Space Station, approximately 48 hours after lift-off, on Tuesday 23 October at 12:43 CEST (10:43 GMT). Before its arrival, the members of the Expedition Three crew already on board the station - Frank Culbertson, station commander, Vladimir Dezhurov, Soyuz commander, and flight engineer Mikhail Tyurin - will change the location of the Soyuz capsule currently attached to the station to clear the port for the arrival of the visiting crew.
Alongside Claudie Haigneré, two Russian cosmonauts Victor Afanassiev, commander, and Konstantin Kozeev, flight engineer, are the other crewmembers on this mission. She is the first non-Russian woman to undertake the role of flight engineer.
This mission, named Andromède, was initiated by the French Minister for Research and is being carried out under an agreement between the French space agency (CNES), the Russian space agency (Rosaviakosmos) and the Russian company RSC Energia.
One of the mission's main objectives is to replace the Station's Soyuz vehicle which serves as the main rescue craft for the Space Station crew in case of emergency. This is done every six months to ensure that the rescue craft is always in top condition. The visiting crew will depart from the ISS aboard the Soyuz currently attached to the station on 31 October in the early morning after an eight-day stay, and will land approximately three hours later in Kazakhstan.
During her stay Claudie Haigneré and her crewmates will carry out a programme of experiments exploring life sciences, biology, materials science and Earth observation on behalf of CNES, ESA and DLR (German Aerospace Centre). Some of the experiments have been proposed by children and students at various schools and colleges in France and Germany.
"Andromède will demonstrate how the focus of work on the ISS is shifting more and more towards scientific research. Part of our aim is to show young people in Europe what we are doing up there and that a career in science and technology can be fascinating and fulfilling", said Claudie Haigneré.
For Claudie Haigneré (44), a doctor, the Andromède mission will be the second stay in space, after the Russian-French Cassiopée mission to Mir in 1996.
Media representatives in Europe can follow the live transmission of the launch or the docking from the ESA establishments. See the Press Release for more details and a reply form »»».