- Soyuz TMA-3M crewmember
- Expeditions 30 and 31 flight engineer
André Kuipers’ ambition to be an astronaut began early in life, but it wasn’t until he became a doctor that he saw a way to combine his professional career with his interest in space exploration. Inspired by the idea of helping humankind to travel further in space, his research into human space adaptation led him to ESA.
Before becoming an ESA astronaut in 1999, he got involved in aviation and space medicine. He participated in research projects on the space adaptation syndrome, contact lenses for pilots, spatial disorientation, blood pressure and cerebral blood flow in a centrifuge and in microgravity conditions in aeroplanes. He was project scientist for experiments flying on the Mir space station and the Shuttle during a Spacelab mission.
During two Soyuz missions to the International Space Station involving other ESA astronauts, he acted as Crew Interface Coordinator from the Russian control centre, TsUP, in Korolev, near Moscow.
André also qualified as ‘Eurocom’, the crew communicator at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, and the Columbus Control Centre situated at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) facility in Oberpfaffenhofen, near Munich.
André was 53 when he arrived at the ISS for the second time. He has proved to be a great teamplayer and an experienced astronaut with a high interest in robotic activities and human physiology research. His Russian language skills are remarkable. As ambassador of the World Wildlife Fund, his PromISSe mission will also aim at exploring better ways to take care of the equilibrium between Earth and its inhabitants.
Paolo was selected as an astronaut in 1998 and he flew in 2007 to the International Space Station as an ESA astronaut on a mission named Esperia, an opportunity provided by the Italian space agency, ASI. Nespoli was then a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle and took part in installing the Node-2 module, a major Italian-built connecting block essential for expansion of the ISS.
Expedition 26/27 will be Paolo’s second flight in space. Trained for Space Shuttle but also for Soyuz spacecraft since 2004, he is now undergoing intensive training for his challenging mission.
Last update: 27 July 2012