ESA title
Science & Exploration

Backup crew for the Cervantes Mission

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Cervantes Mission


André Kuipers, Astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA)
André Kuipers, Astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA)

André Kuipers

ESA astronaut

Personal data

Born 5 October 1958, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He has two daughters. Enjoys flying, scuba diving, skiing, hiking, travelling and history.


Received a Medical Doctor degree from the University of Amsterdam in 1987.


During his medical studies, André Kuipers worked in the Vestibular Department of the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where he was involved in research on the equilibrium system.

In 1987 and 1988, as an officer of the Royal Netherlands Air Force Medical Corps, he studied accidents and incidents caused by spatial disorientation of pilots of high-performance aircraft.

In 1989 and 1990, he worked for the Research and Development department of the Netherlands Aerospace Medical Centre in Soesterberg. He was involved in research on the Space Adaptation Syndrome, contact lenses for pilots, vestibular apparatus, blood pressure and cerebral blood flow in both high acceleration conditions in a human centrifuge and in microgravity conditions in aeroplanes.

Since 1991, Kuipers has been involved in the preparation, coordination, baseline data collection and ground control of physiological experiments developed by the European Space Agency for space missions. He also supports the ESA parabolic flight campaigns as an experiment operator, technician, test subject and flight surgeon.

In July 1999, André Kuipers joined the European Astronaut Corps of the European Space Agency.

Current assignment

André Kuipers has trained as backup of Pedro Duque for the Soyuz 7S mission. As 'Crew Interface Coordinator', André will support ESA's ground team in the Russian Control Centre TsUP during the mission.

André Kuipers is assigned as a Flight Engineer for the Soyuz 8S mission to the International Space Station, which is scheduled to take place end of April 2004.


Valery Tokarev
Valery Tokarev

Valery Ivanovich Tokarev

Colonel, Russian Air Force
Test cosmonaut at the Yuri.A. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre

Personal data:

Born 29 October 1952 in the town of Kap-Yar, Astrakhan Region Resides at Star City, Moscow Region. He is married and has two children. He enjoys nature, automobiles, airplanes, and sports.


Master's degree in State Administration from the National Economy Academy affiliated with the Russian Federation Government in Moscow.

Work experience:

Tokarev is a 1st Class Air Force Pilot and a 1st Class Test Pilot. He has flight experience with 44 types of airplanes and helicopters.

In 1987, Valery Tokarev was selected to join the cosmonaut corps to test and fly the Buran spacecraft. Since 1994, he has served as commander of a group of cosmonauts of aerospace systems. Since termination of the Buran programme in 1997, Tokarev has been assigned as a test cosmonaut at the Yuri A. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre.

Spaceflight experience:

STS-96 (27 May to 6 June 1999). During the 10-day mission, the crew of Discovery delivered 4 tons of logistics and supplies to the International Space Station in preparation for the arrival of the first crew to live on the Station.

Current assignment:

Valery Tokarev is currently assigned as backup to the Expedition 8 crew.

(Source: NASA)

William McArthur
William McArthur

William Surles "Bill" McArthur, Jr.,

(Colonel, USA, Ret.)
NASA astronaut

Personal data:

Born 26 July 1951, in Laurinburg, North Carolina. He is married and has two daughters. He enjoys basketball, running, and working with personal computers.


Bachelor of Science degree in applied science and engineering from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, in 1973, and a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1983.

Work experience:

Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in June 1973. Following a tour with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he entered the U.S. Army Aviation School in 1975. He was the top graduate of his flight class and was designated an Army aviator in June 1976. He subsequently served as an aeroscout team leader and brigade aviation section commander with the 2nd Infantry Division in the Republic of Korea. In 1978 he was assigned to the 24th Combat Aviation Battalion in Savannah, Georgia, where he served as a company commander, platoon leader, and operations officer.

After completing studies at Georgia Tech, he was assigned to the Department of Mechanics at West Point as an assistant professor.

In June 1987, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and was designated an experimental test pilot. McArthur retired from the Army in 2001.

McArthur was assigned to NASA at the Johnson Space Center in August 1987 as a Space Shuttle vehicle integration test engineer.

Selected by NASA in January 1990, McArthur became an astronaut in July 1991.

Spaceflight experience:

STS-58 Columbia (18 October – 1 November 1993). During the mission the crew performed neurovestibular, cardiovascular, cardiopulmonary, metabolic, and musculoskeletal medical experiments.

STS-74 Atlantis (12-20 November 1995). During the 8-day flight the crew successfully attached a permanent docking module to Mir.

STS-92 Discovery (11-24 October 2000). During the 13-day flight, the seven-member crew attached the Z1 Truss and Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 to the International Space Station using Discovery’s robotic arm.

Current assignment:

McArthur is currently assigned as backup to the ISS Expedition 8 crew.

(Source: NASA)