Monthly Archives: May 2013

First days in space

A brief update from ESA mission directors, on Luca’s first days in space: As the only space rookie on the International Space Station, he is adapting to weightless life. All new astronauts need time to interpret spatial cues in new ways. Luca’s brain is training to no longer process cues in the upright manner on Earth but analysing everything in three dimensions. We have seen and talked to him today while he was performing his first planned activities. Weekdays start around 09:00 GMT and end with bedtime at around 21:00 GMT. The weekend is off and let’s wait to hear how he spent his first weekend in space. Luca’s first scientific data...


The sound of Luca’s Soyuz

What does a Soyuz launch sound like? The MP3 recording below was recorded from Baikonur as Luca, Karen and Fyodor rocketed into space. Thanks, Nadjedja!

Luca’s first duties on the Station

Not content with setting a record for fastest Soyuz flight, Luca Parmitano will set the record for shortest time on arrival before working on an ESA experiment. Once the hatch opens the crew will have a half hour video conference with friends and family waiting in Baikonur. Time has been reserved for a quick snack after that followed by a safety briefing for all crew. Then the astronauts will start preparing their new beds for a well-deserved sleep. Luca however has to fill out his first questionnaire on space headaches, an ESA experiment into microgravity migraines. ESA astronaut and medical doctor Andre Kuipers gathered data on the same experiment last year during...


Contact confirmed, Soyuz 35 has docked with the International Space Station in only 5 hours and 39 minutes after launch.

First view of Soyuz from Space Station

See the black dot on the right over Earth’s white clouds? That is Soyuz 35s with Karen, Fyodor and Luca approaching the International Space Station at 5 m/s.

Soyuz approaches Station

This picture is from Soyuz 35s external camera at around 30 km from the International Space Station. The solar panels can be seen in the top left corner. Less than an hour to docking.

Luca in orbit

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg and Russian commander Fyodor Yurchikhin were launched to the International Space Station at 20:31 GMT and entered orbit less than twenty minutes later.

Impressions of a cosmic place

Spacefan (and ESA colleague) Nadjejda Vicente has travelled to Baikonur to see Luca’s launch on her own budget. Below is her impressions of the trip so far. Scroll down for a picture gallery: It is difficult to give you a summary of what it is to be here. Baikonur is a quiet city of around 39,000 inhabitants. Most of them are Kazakh. Everywhere you go you can find space art on the walls of the buildings, posters, statues and real rockets crowning the main avenues. Kids build amazing rockets at the International Space School and you can find some souvenirs in the local market, but apart from that their everyday life revolves...