Monthly Archives: June 2012

New blog post from André: ‘ICV: measuring blood f...

In his latest blog entry from on board the International Space Station, André Kuipers writes about taking part in a NASA experiment that measures astronaut’s blood pressure and heart rhythm during long stays in space. André writes: The ISS repeatedly flew across the “terminator” over the last weeks. The terminator is the border between day and night on Earth. Flying in this orbit is a weird feeling as we see the Sun continuously on the horizon. It came in handy to take pictures of the Venus transit but night-time photography was out of the question unfortunately. I focussed on the golden-yellow reflection of the Sun on Earth instead. This makes beautiful pictures...

New blog entry from André: ‘Looking for the best ...

At the start of his last week on the International Space Station, ESA astronaut André Kuipers writes about the ALTEA SHIELD experiment that will one day provide astronauts with an improved radiation shield. He writes: “When I return through Earth’s atmosphere in my Soyuz I will have spent 193 days in space. My mission will have been the longest European space flight in history. Everything went well thanks to the thousands of people on ground that continuously keep an eye on us. Safety is number one priority in human space flight. Missions such as mine are inherently risky. In the last few weeks I started an experiment that looks at one of...

Science on the ISS: Exploring the limits of life

You can freeze it, thaw it, vacuum dry it and expose it to radiation but still life survives. ESA’s research on the International Space Station is giving credibility to theories that life came from outer space – as well as helping to create better suncreams. In 2008 scientists sent the suitcase-sized Expose-E experiment package to the Space Station filled with organic compounds and living organisms to test their reaction to outer space. The experiment was installed on the outside of the ISS where the space samples endured the full power of the Sun’s rays. The samples were insulated somewhat by the Space Station but still had to cope with temperatures changing from...

Soyuz leak check in preparation for return to Earth

In preparation for their return to Earth with the Soyuz TMA-03M on 1 July, Oleg Kononenko, Don Pettit & André Kuipers recently donned their Russian Sokol launch and entry suits to perform the standard leak check in their spacecraft. Here they pose for a photograph in the Station’s Destiny laboratory.

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ISS crew discusses life and work in space

Expedition 31 Flight Engineers Joe Acaba and Don Pettit of NASA and ESA’s André Kuipers discuss scientific research on the International Space Station and other facets of life and work in space during in-flight interviews 19 June with Fox Business News and the American Geophysical Union.

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André counting down to return – interview with Eu...

ESA astronaut André Kuipers recently discussed the highlights of his six-month PromISSe mission on the International Space Station during an in-flight interview with Euronews. André, who launched to the station in December, will return to Earth 1 July in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft for a landing in Kazakhstan along with crewmates Don Pettit and Oleg Kononenko.

Last chance to see André on the ISS

The International Space Station will make several visible passes over Europe each night this week until 21 June. These will be the last opportunities to see the ISS with ESA astronaut André Kuipers on board. André and his crewmates Don Pettit and Oleg Kononenko are set to return to Earth with their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft on 1 July. Under a clear sky, the ISS is visible from the ground when it is still in the sunlight and it is dark down below – either in the dusk, shortly after sunset, or in the dawn, before sunrise. For ISS viewing times from where you are, use one of the following tracking sites: heavens-above.com...

New blog post from André: ‘More exercise because ...

With the end of his PromISSe mission to the International Space Station rapidly approaching, ESA astronaut André Kuipers is starting to prepare for his return to Earth. André writes: “Just three more weeks. I am counting down to my return. I have mixed feelings. On the one hand I want to go home and see my family and friends. On the other hand I do not want to leave because I know I will never return to space. I have accepted that I will not be able to do everything that I had planned for this mission. I will not be able to take a daytime picture of The Netherlands without any...

Radiation on the ISS: mapping in 3D & testing mate...

In recent weeks, ESA astronaut André Kuipers has been involved in two ESA experiments involving radiation levels on the International Space Station; the Dose Distribution Inside the International Space Station – 3D (DOSIS 3D) experiment and ALTEA-SHIELD. For DOSIS 3D a number of active and passive radiation detectors are used to conduct a three-dimensional survey of the radiation environment in all segments of the ISS, mapping the nature and levels of the radiation field within the Station. Space radiation exposure is always a concern for the crew, and must be protected against. The radiation dose inside the European Columbus laboratory is monitored in 11 different positions by passive dosimeters. The passive dosimeters...

Delving inside Earth from space

ESA astronaut André Kuipers is running experiments on the International Space Station that are shedding light on conditions deep inside Earth. Orbiting some 400 km above us, Geoflow is offering insights into the inner workings of our planet. ESA sponsored the development of an experiment that mimics the geometry of a planet. Called Geoflow, it contains two revolving concentric spheres with a liquid between them. The inner sphere represents Earth’s core, with the outer sphere acting as the crust. The liquid, of course, is the mantle. Read more about Geoflow on the ESA Portal

Amateur radio contact with Dutch school children

Today at approximately 11:25 CEST (09.25 UT), an ARISS contact is planned between ESA astronaut André Kuipers and school children gathered at the Nederlands Ruimtevaartmuseum in Lelystad, the Netherlands. 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. During today’s contact, André will field questions from a group of Dutch children who won the second round...

New blog entry from André: ’23 new radiation sens...

With just over three weeks to go until he returns to Earth, ESA astronaut André Kuipers is still busy with science on the International Space Station, as well as maintenance and routine operations. André writes: In the past weeks I have been doing many ‘life science’ experiments investigating human behaviour in weightlessness. I worked with the Fluid Science Laboratory examining liquids in space. I also conducted maintenance work and small repairs. Just like a laboratory on Earth, maintenance and repair is important to keep everything running smoothly. Some experiments on the Station run autonomously. Read more in André’s logbook: ’23 new radiation sensors for the Space Station’

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ISS crew answer questions from Californian students

From on board the International Space Station, Expedition 31 Flight Engineers Don Pettit, Joe Acaba and André Kuipers answered questions about life and work on the orbital laboratory from students in California, US, during an in-flight educational event on 6 June.

New blog post from André: ‘The future of space tr...

After the recent visit of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, in his latest blog entry ESA astronaut André Kuipers reflects on what he calls an important milestone for spaceflight. He writes: “The Dragon cargo ferry only visited us for a short time. It left after a week. But it was an impressive mission for me personally, as I helped dock and later detach it from the Space Station. It was an impressive mission also for the thousands of people on Earth who worked on Dragon and indeed for the whole of humankind.” Read more in André’s logbook: ‘The future of space travel’