Join Christian Hollingham for a complete replay of the successful launch of ESA astronaut, Andre Kuipers, on 21 December 2011. Kuipers was launched into orbit along with NASA astronaut Don Pettit and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko atop a Soyuz launcher, which lifted off at 2.16pm CET. As part of the PromISSe mission, Kuipers will be flight engineer for the duration. During the launch there are several views of the crew inside the TMA-03M spacecraft, along with extensive coverage of ground control in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
In the days between launch and docking their spacecraft will circle the globe 35 times, performing three major engine burns as its orbit is adjusted for docking with the International Space Station. Kuipers and his fellow crew members will dock with the ISS on 23 December 2011, and will be met by three crew members already in orbit. Andre, Don and Oleg will be aboard ISS for almost six months as part of expeditions 30 and 31.