Monthly Archives: February 2012

André’s PromISSe mission extended

It’s official… ESA astronaut André Kuipers will stay on ISS for a few weeks longer than originally planned. Following the delay to the launch of the next Soyuz spacecraft, the Station partners have agreed that Don Pettit, Oleg Kononenko and André will return to Earth on 1 July. Read more on the ESA Portal: André’s PromISSe mission extended on Space Station

New blog post from André: “On a diet for internat...

André has recently been following a special diet on the ISS – find out why in his latest blog post… “The last few weeks I was on a diet. Not that I am too fat, but for some experiments I need to follow a strict diet, such as for the European SOLO experiment. Twice Dan Burbank and I ate a special diet for five days. The experiment is about salt and is called SOLO (SOdium LOad in microgravity). Dan and I eat a diet with normal salt content for a week (11.5 grams a day), and a diet with low salt the other week (2,9 grams a day).” Read more in André’s...

Replay: ARISS contact with André Kuipers

Earlier today students from three international schools based in the Netherlands used amateur radio to talk with ESA astronaut André Kuipers on the International Space Station (ISS). The radio contact with André lasted long enough for the students from the American school of the Hague, the International School of Amsterdam and the British School in the Netherlands to hear answers to 18 questions. Click the link below to listen to the ARISS contact: ARISS contact with André Kuipers, 27 February 2012 The 18 questions answered were: 1. Eoin (14): Can you light a candle or magnesium in zero gravity? 2. Rachel (11): Do you get homesick? 3. Phoebe (14): After all the...

Ham radio contact with international schools

Today at around 13:45 CET (12:45 UT), students from three international schools based in the Netherlands will use amateur radio to contact ESA astronaut André Kuipers on the International Space Station (ISS). Most of the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the 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. Students from the American school of the Hague, the International School of Amsterdam and the...

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Discussing life in space with students

During a week so far dominated by routine inspection and maintenance tasks for the International Space Station crew, ISS Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineer André Kuipers took time out to answer questions put to them by students in New Jersey, USA.

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Share André’s scientific adventure

Armed with two educational experiments during his PromISSe mission, ESA astronaut André Kuipers is inviting students aged 10–14 to share his scientific adventure. André is inviting schools across Europe to learn what is behind seemingly simple phenomena such as convection and foams. Children have the chance to follow the ‘Take Your Classroom into Space’ experiments with André as part of the ‘Spaceship Earth’ educational programme. Teachers can order the school kits with the ‘Take Your Classroom into Space’ experiments from the PromISSe website: www.esa.int/PromISSe. More about this activity on the ESA website: Space oddities – to teach science

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Greeting for André Kuipers from songwriting duo Fluitsm...

In 1996, Fluitsma & Van Tijn had a massive Number 1 hit in The Netherlands with the song 15 Miljoen Mensen, which is one of André’s favourite songs and on his playlist on the International Space Station. Fluitsma & Van Tijn are a famous Dutch songwriting and producing duo made up of Jochem Fluitsma and Eric van Tijn. Over the years, they have worked with many Dutch and international artists, including Alain Clark, Mai Tai, René Froger, Montserrat Caballe, Mathilde Santing, André Hazes, Engelbert Humperdinck, Gerard Joling, Guus Meeuwis, Paul de Leeuw, Status Quo and De Kast. When they heard that their song was included in André’s playlist, to be listened to...

New blog post from André: ‘My bedroom is cosily c...

The latest news from André Kuipers in orbit: “I trained for over four years for this mission. Even in space the training continues. I recently practised initial manoeuvres with the Space Station robot arm: SSRMS (Space Station Robotic Manipulator System, spaceflight is full of acronyms). This robotic arm will be used in a couple of months when Space X’s Dragon freighter arrives at the ISS…” Read more in André’s blog: ‘My bedroom is cosily chaotic’

Russian cosmonauts ready for ISS spacewalk

Expedition 30 Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Anton Shkaplerov are currently preparing to start a six-hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station. Wearing the Russian Orlan spacesuits, Oleg and Anton are scheduled to exit the Pirs airlock at 15:15 CET (14:15 GMT). Their tasks are to attach five debris shields on the exterior of the Zvezda service module and to relocate one of two Strela telescoping cranes from the Pirs module to the Poisk module. The Russian ISS crewmembers have been preparing for today’s spacewalk for a number of days, even performing a dry run inside the ISS on Tuesday. Today’s spacewalk is the 162nd in support of ISS assembly and maintainence...

Robonaut awakened on ISS

The International Space Station’s seventh crewmember, a dextrous humanoid robot called Robonaut 2, was powered up for testing yesterday. ESA astronaut André Kuipers assisted ISS Commander Dan Burbank with the assembly and power up of Robonaut. Together with ground controllers, Burbank tested Robonaut’s joints and force sensors before stowing the robot for more testing today. NASA’s Robonaut is in a demonstration phase, but eventually robots could relieve crew of tasks which are fairly repetitive and can be automated. Crew time on the ISS is an extremely scare resource, freeing up some of their time spent on simple tasks would mean more time for those tasks that require human skills and reasoning. Another...

New blog post from André: ‘Return delayed and nic...

Now 8 weeks into the PromISSe mission, André updates us on his latest news from the International Space Station in his blog: “The news came that I will be going back home later than planned. Space travel can be unpredictable in this way. A leak was found on the Sojuz capsule that was supposed to ferry the Expedition 31 crew up here. So the next Sojuz in line is being prepared quickly. It will not be ready before mid-march so the launch has been delayed by two months…” Read more in André’s blog: ‘Return delayed and nice presents from Earth’

ISS visible again in evening sky

After a break of several weeks, from today and for the coming days, the International Space Station is once again visible in the evening skies over Europe. For a number of weeks the orbit of the ISS has been such that it was only visible in Europe early in the morning. From this evening’s pass around 19:40 CET, the ISS will once again be visible from locations in Europe (assuming there are no clouds) as a bright star moving across the sky after sunset. Use one of the following websites to find out when the ISS is visible from your location and where to look: heavens-above.com NASA’s sighting opportunities website Or on...

How to measure body mass in space

André Kuipers recently tweeted this picture along with the text “We also measure our body mass in the Columbus module. Also using the motion of a spring.”   We also measure our body mass in the Columbus module. Also using the motion of a spring. flic.kr/p/bppnWe — André Kuipers (@astro_andre) February 9, 2012   The device André is using is called the Space Linear Acceleration Measurement Device, or SLAMMD (pronounced “slam-dee”) for short. Why is measuring body mass needed in space? What exactly is SLAMMD and how does it work? One of the side effects of a long stay in space is the loss of bone density and muscle mass because astonauts...

Astronauts seen and heard: satcoms for the ISS

Seeing ESA astronaut André Kuipers on the International Space Station is a regular occurrence these days. You turn on your TV or check Twitter and there he is. Since there are no cables trailing from the Station to Earth, just how does this happen? The answer, of course, is via satellite. While the answer may be simple, the process is more complicated. Find out more on the ESA Portal