Monthly Archives: January 2012

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Video replay: Progress cargo spacecraft docks with ISS

An unmanned Progress resupply spacecraft docked with the Pirs docking compartment of the International Space Station at 01:09 CET (00:09 UT) on Saturday 28 January. The Russian Progress M-14M spacecraft, designated 46P, delivers 930 kg fuel, 50 kg air and oxygen, 420 kg water and 1260 kg of spare parts and scientific experiments to the ISS. The Progress launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome on 26 January at 00:06 CET (25 January, 23:06 UT). Replay of the docking, credit: NASA TV

A bit of extra salt on your food, André? Astronauts’ bo...

Starting on Sunday ESA astronaut André Kuipers and his NASA colleague Dan Burbank will eat a special diet for ESA’s SOdium LOad in microgravity (SOLO) experiment for two periods of five days. Find out more about SOLO and what it can help us to learn in this blog contribution from ESA’s Mission Science Office: Osteoporosis is a harsh disease that reduces the quality of life for millions and costs Europe around €25 billion each year. It typically affects the elderly so the rise in life expectancy in developed countries means the problems inflicted by osteoporosis are increasing. Fortunately, research done in space may change the game. Astronauts on the International Space Station...

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Video replay: Progress spacecraft launched to ISS

A Russian Progress resupply spacecraft launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome today at 00:06 CET (25 January, 23:06 UT) . The Progress M-14M spacecraft, designated 46P, will deliver new supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) including food, fuel, water, spare parts and experiment hardware. The Progress is scheduled to dock with the ISS at around 01:07 CET (00:07 UT) on Saturday, 28 January.

Robot competition in zero-gravity

School teams from Europe and America have been commanding robots competing in the Spheres ZeroRobotics tournament in space. The arena: 400 km above Earth on the International Space Station. Astronauts Don Pettit and André Kuipers set up the individual matches in Japan’s Kibo laboratory on the Space Station and enjoyed the spectacle. Read more on the ESA website

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Video: In-flight call with André Kuipers on the ISS

André Kuipers has been on board of the ISS since 23 December 2011. From Astrium  in Bremen, students called him on 25 January and talk to him about his life as an astronaut. Watch live streaming video...

Russian spacecraft to deliver new supplies to ISS

A Russian Progress resupply spacecraft is set to launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome late Thursday, 26 January. The Progress M-14M spacecraft, designated 46P, will carry new supplies to the International Space Station including food, fuel, water, spare parts and experiment hardware. Liftoff of the Progress is scheduled for 23:06:42 CET (25 January, 23:06:42 UT). After the successful departure of the Progress M-13M (45P) from the ISS on Monday, the Station’s Pirs docking port is now ready to receive the new cargo spacecraft. The Progress M-13M is set for a destructive reentry into Earth’s atmosphere late tonight. Progress M-14M will arrive at the ISS at around 01:07 CET (00:07 UT) on Saturday, 28 January....

Science update: Fluid science experiment SODI/DSC compl...

Working with the Microgravity Science Glovebox, André Kuipers completed the fluid science experiment SODI/DSC on Monday. In the following blog post, the ESA Mission Science Office and Project Scientist Stefano Mazzoni explain more about the experiment and the possible applications of the findings here on Earth: Fluids and gases are never at rest. This statement is in apparent contradiction with our experience: when we pour water in a glass and wait until all flows have disappeared and the temperature of the liquid is in equilibrium with that of the room, we see that water appears to be completely at rest. However, if we were able to see the individual molecules of water...

Dragon demonstration flight postponed

The launch of the first unmanned Dragon spacecraft has been postponed. Built by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX)the demonstration flight of the cargo vessel was due for liftoff to the International Space Station on 7 February. A new target launch date has not been set. André Kuipers and the rest of the resident ISS Expedition 30 crew had been due to receive the Dragon spacecraft on 10 February. After rendezvous with the orbital outpost, Dragon performs the final approach while the ISS crew grapples the vehicle with the Station’s robotic arm. Once a successful demonstration flight has been completed, Dragon is set join the fleet of cargo spacecraft that carries food, water, equipment...

Fire drill exercise for ISS crew

The ISS crewmembers are currently performing a practice fire drill on the orbital outpost. Supported by the mission control centres in Houston and Moscow, this is a routine exercise and part of life on board the International Space Station. The training scenario they are working through is a fire detected in the European Columbus laboratory. Unlike on Earth where we would normally evacuate the building and call the fire brigade, the crew has to work through any issues with the support of ground staff, with an evacuation of the ISS being the last resort during a real incident. Prior to starting the drill, to avoid any alarm, a warning was given to...

Ham radio contact with Belgian school

ESA astronaut André Kuipers will today participate in a ham radio call with the Vrije Technische Scholen (VTS), Sint-Niklaas, Belgium. Most of the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have an amateur radio license. They use the station’s ham radio to contact amateur radio stations on ground mostly in their free time, and the radio is used to contact pre-selected schools. During the ten minutes that the ISS is typically above horizon and radio contact is possible, astronauts answer the questions prepared by the students. If a school does not have their own radio station, volunteering amateur satellite operators set up a ground station for their use. If needed,...

PromISSe mission science update

A few weeks into André Kuipers stay on the International Space Station (ISS), we caught up with Hilde Stenuit from ESA’s Mission Science Office (MSO). Together with a small team at the MSO, Hilde supports ESA experiments conducted on the ISS, including those being performed during the PromISSe mission. For the PromISSe mission André is trained on about 35 ESA experiments covering a range of disciplines, including human physiology, biology and physical sciences. He will also take part in a technology programme and education activities. As part of the ISS crew, André is also involved in some 20 experiments for the other international partners. First data collection completed With respect to the...

ISS to perform debris avoidance manoeuvre

Update 17:20 CET (16:10 UT): The debris avoidance manoeuvre was conducted as planned at 17:10 CET. The Zvezda engines were fired for 54 seconds. The crew closed all window hatches in preparation for the boost until after the closest approach of the debris. This was the thirteenth debris avoidance manoeuvre in the ISS’ lifetime. Later today the International Space Station will perform a debris avoidance manoeuvre. At 17:10 CET (16:10 GMT) Russian mission controllers will fire the Zvezda service module engines to boost the Station’s orbit in order to avoid a piece of debris from an Iridium satellite. Without the orbit boost, the 10-cm diameter object would have made two close approaches...

Spaceship Earth

During his stay in orbit, André has a unique view on ‘Spaceship Earth’ from his own spaceship, the International Space Station. From the spectacular vantage point provided by Cupola, the ESA astronaut can observe both the beauty and fragility of our planet. His observations support the ESA online lessons designed to help European children aged 10–18 strengthen their knowledge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. ESA and the Netherlands Space Office have worked together to make André’s education programme a comprehensive and exciting one to follow for students and teachers. The first theme of the Spaceship Earth activity is ‘Life in space’. Lessons for this theme on radiation, balance and immunology are...

André. This is Mark Rutte.

From a packed lecture theatre at Delft University of Technology, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called ESA astronaut André Kuipers on board the International Space Station yesterday. “André, this is Mark Rutte. How are you doing?” Clearly delighted to be in contact with André in space, Rutte went on to say that the call was one of the best things he has done in his job as Prime Minister. “It is a very big honour for me to talk to you and the students,” replied André floating inside the Station’s Japanese Kibo module. “I have been here for two and a half weeks now. I am getting used to it. It is...