During his six-month PromISSe mission on the International Space Station, André conducted over 50 scientific experiments in the world's only permanent microgravity laboratory.
A medical doctor by training, André conducted biophysics experiments that could offer insights into fighting osteoporosis, migraines and immune cell death. He also performed experiments in other domains such as biology or looking at improving computer models of fluids. Some experiments might serve to prepare for further exploration of space.
In addition to his scientific workload, André carried out maintenance and operational tasks. Highlights included receiving ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle Edoardo Amaldi cargo ferry and docking the first commercial spacecraft, Dragon.
A video of the highlights of the PromISSe mission:
In his first blog entry since returning to Earth, ESA astronaut André Kuipers looks back at the intense experience of the landing and explains how the PromISSe mission hasn't quite finished for him yet.
He writes: "My return to Earth with the Soyuz was an intense experience. After undocking we conducted some tests and orbited Earth one more time. Above the South-Atlantic Ocean the braking motor fired for four minutes. 140 kms above Egypt the spacecraft separated into three parts. Above Iraq we entered the atmosphere and the air started to glow. The first part was beautiful, we were surrounded by an orange cocoon. After that the ride was simply unpleasant."
Post-flight testing as well as rehabilitation & debriefings for André Kuipers in the coming weeks
ESA astronaut André Kuipers is spending the next couple of weeks at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA, where his PromISSe mission continues with post-flight tests, revalidation and debriefings.
After arriving in Houston early on 2 July he said: "The return journey went perfectly. It was quite tough, I felt sick when I was back on Earth, and wasn't able to walk straightaway. But the care we were given was great and I soon felt better. I was able to take a long sleep in the plane on the way to America. I sat in the grass for a while during one of the stopovers. It smelt so good! I saw the sunset and thought: yes, I am home again."
ESA astronaut André Kuipers, together with his Russian Commander Oleg Kononenko and NASA astronaut Donald Pettit, landed safely on the steppes of Kazakhstan on 1 July 2012, at 10:14 CEST (08:14 UT), in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft.
During his six-month PromISSe mission on the International Space Station, André conducted over 50 scientific experiments in the world’s only permanent microgravity laboratory.
Expedition 31 Commander Oleg Kononenko, NASA Flight Engineer Don Pettit and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers were greeted in a traditional ceremony at the airport in Karaganda, Kazakhstan on 1 July 2012, hours after landing in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft on the steppe of Kazakhstan southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan.
After the ceremony, the crew split up, with Kononenko returning to his training base in Star City, Russia, while Pettit and Kuipers boarded a NASA plane in Karaganda to return to the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The trio completed 193 days in space and 191 days aboard the International Space Station following a launch in late December. The footage includes a short interview conducted André in Karaganda before beginning the trip back to Houston (starts at 7'51").
Replay of today's landing of the Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 10:14 CEST (08:14 UT) returning Expedition 30/31 crewmembers Oleg Kononenko, André Kuipers and Don Pettit to Earth after 193 days in space.
The Soyuz TMA-03M undocked from the International Space Station at 06:47 CEST (04:47 UT) this morning, starting the return journey to Earth for ESA astronaut André Kuipers, NASA's Don Pettit and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko. They are set to land in Kazakhstan at 10:14 CEST (08:14 UT).
Expedition 31 crewmembers André Kuipers, Don Pettit and Oleg Kononenko have said their farewells to the rest of the International Space Station crew and entered their Soyuz spacecraft ahead of their return to Earth. The hatches between the ISS and the Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft were closed at 03:32 CEST (01:32 UT). They will now perform leak checks of their spacecraft and are scheduled to undock from the ISS at around 06:48 CEST (04:48 UT).
Shortly before hatch closure between the ISS and the Soyuz TMA-03M (Credit NASA TV)