Monthly Archives: December 2011


A New Year’s message from ISS crew

The Expedition 30 crew today took some time out of their working day to send a New Year’s message to everybody on Earth: Credit: NASA

First tweets from @astro_andre

ESA astronaut André Kuipers today sent his first messages on Twitter since arriving on board the International Space Station. Using the handle @astro_andre, André has posted tweets throughout his training for the PromISSe mission and during the preparations for launch. Today André posted several images showing views inside the Soyuz spacecraft during the two day journey to the ISS and others with the Soyuz docked to ISS against the backdrop of Earth. Soyuz did a great job bringing us to the Space Station. Little room though…. — André Kuipers (@astro_andre) December 25, 2011 Back in the space suit for docking — André Kuipers (@astro_andre) December 25, 2011   Our Soyuz...

Follow the crew on Space Station Live

They may be circling the planet at an altitude of some 400 km, but you can follow the International Space Station crew as they go about their daily tasks via NASA’s Space Station Live website. The website includes timelines for each crewmember as well as live video straight from the ISS! Explore NASA’s Space Station Live

Video: Replay of the hatch opening

Replay of the hatch opening between the newly arrived Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft and the International Space Station. The new Expedition 30 crewmembers were welcomed on board by the three resident ISS Expedition 30 crewmembers, Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoli Ivanishin

Soyuz spacecraft docked with ISS

The Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft has docked with the International Space Station at 16:19 CET (15:19 UT). The crews are currently performing pressure and leak checks between the two spacecraft before opening the hatches around 19:00 (18:00 UT).

The welcoming committee

Waiting to welcome André, Oleg and Don on board the International Space Station are the resident crewmembers. American ISS Commander Dan Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoli Ivanishin have been living on the ISS for just over one month after docking their Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft on 16 November. Together the six crewmembers complete the 30th resident ISS crew – known as Expedition 30. Dan Burbank, Expedition 30 commander Dan Burbank has a strong expertise in naval flight training. He has logged over 4000 flight hours, primarily in coast guard helicopters, and has flown more than 300 search and rescue missions. Dan has served as spacecraft communicator (CapCom) for Space Shuttle...


André’s music

During his five-month PromISSe mission, ESA astronaut André Kuipers is listening – of course – to a lot of his favourite music. He has taken a selection of music with him on the ISS and soon a song a day will be featured on his blog ( Here some of the artists included on André’s playlist send their best wishes, including Marillion, Pink Floyd and one of André’s all-time favourites, Dutch guitarist, Harry Sacksioni.

Where are they now?

47 hours since their launch from Baikonur, the Soyuz spacecraft carrying André Kuipers, Don Pettit and Oleg Kononenko is closing in on the International Space Station. You can follow the ground track of both the Soyuz and ISS as they rendezvous in space at

Docking day for Soyuz

The Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft carrying André Kuipers and his crewmates, Oleg Kononenko and Don Pettit is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station today at 16:23:46 CET (15:23:46 UT). After leak checks, the hatch will be opened around 19:00 CET (18:00 UT) and the new arrivals welcomed on board their new home by the resident ISS Expedition 30 crewmembers. Live coverage of the docking and hatch opening is available via NASA TV webstreaming: For HD Ustream: (there you can also join in with the chat) Coverage of the docking: from 15:45 to 17:00 CET (14:45 – 16:00 UT) Coverage of hatch opening: from 18:45 to 21:00 CET (17:45 to...

Stamps & postcards released

A set of stamps and postcards have been released in the Netherlands to mark the start of André’s PromISSe mission. The postcard collection consists of a series of 34 cards with images from space with the themes: cities, wonders of the world and space. These cards are only available online on or the KaartWereld app for smart phones and tablets. The stamp set is a limited edition and includes three postcards from the collection. The first postcard was handed over to Franco Ongaro, Director of ESTEC, by Guido de Wit of PostNL at the launch event in the Space Expo in Noordwijk on 21 December. Send a space-themed card with

Chasing the ISS

The Soyuz TMA-03M has now been in space for more than a day, travelling at 28000 km/h, the spacecraft orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes. The International Space Station is still one day away – the spacecraft makes various manoeuvres raising its orbit and aligning it with the station in preparation for rendezvous and docking. In all the Soyuz will orbit earth 35 times before docking with ISS at 16:22 CET (15:22 UT) on Friday. Shortly after launch, once they confirmed the health of their spacecraft, the crew of three opened the hatch to the Orbital Module – with a volume of just 7.2 m3, this acts as the crew’s very...

Today is a big day – by Samantha Cristoforetti

This blog post is kindly contributed by ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti who is following Soyuz training at Star City near Moscow. You can follow Samantha on Twitter at: @AstroSamantha.   Today is a big day; I think I can say it loud. Well, for one thing I have passed my rendezvous exam this morning, the last one of the four dreaded exams on the Soyuz motion control system. Hurrà! It’s a small, but significant step on the road that leads to a spaceflight, a road that my friend and colleague André Kuipers knows very well. In just a few hours, he will walk the very last bit of that tortuous road to...


Video: launch replay

A replay of the launch of the Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome. The launch marks the start of ESA astronaut André Kuipers 5 month PromISSe mission. And a replay of the ESA launch transmission in full, with commentary from ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli: