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:
New blog post from André: ‘Cut off underwater and near the South Pole’
Talking to the Neemo crew (Credit: ESA/NASA)
In a final blog entry from the International Space Station, André reflects on the contact he had with two other isolated missions...
André writes: "The six of us on the Space Station live quite isolated from the world. But we are not the only people in such a situation. Before my mission started I asked if I could be in contact with two other missions. One on the bottom of the sea and one on the South Pole. I had very special conversations with people that are in similar situations or even more isolated."
New blog post from André: ‘Checking water valves and another false alarm’
André works with one of the experiment racks in the Kibo laboratory (Credit: ESA/NASA)
Some last International Space Station maintanence tasks for ESA astronaut André Kuipers before he and fellow crewmates Don Pettit and Oleg Kononenko make the return journey to Earth at the end of their six-month stay.
André writes: "Two more days to go before my stay in space will end. I managed to complete three important tasks before I have to leave. I inspected cooling fluid valves for the Columbus laboratory, fixed an American scientific experiment rack and worked on the Japanese Ryutai rack. We do many maintenance tasks in the ISS. Maintenance must be done in a timely fashion to assure that the Space Station is used optimally for our scientific experiments."
André: “Every time you look at the planet it is awesome”
In this video Space Station astronauts André Kuipers, Don Pettit and Joe Acaba talk to US media in a final media interview before the end of the PromISSe mission to the ISS. André and Don are scheduled to land in their Soyuz spacecraft together with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko on 1 July after 6 1/2 months in orbit. Acaba remains on board the ISS until mid-September.
PromISSe Mission is ESA’s longest
André in Sokol suit (credit: ESA/NASA)
As of this afternoon, 188 days have elapsed since ESA astronaut André Kuipers launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome at start of the PromISSe Mission. In passing this milestone, André now holds the record for the longest stay in space by an ESA astronaut. The record was previously held by ESA astronaut Frank de Winne who spent 187 days 20 hours in space for the OasISS Mission to the International Space Station between May and December 2009.
André is set to remain on board the ISS until Sunday 1 July, when he is scheduled to return to Earth with the Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft together with NASA astronaut Don Pettit and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko. At the end of the mission he will have spent 193 days in space for the PromISSe mission.
New blog post from André: ‘ICV: measuring blood flow and heart rhythm for 48 hours’
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 as well. I don’t have much time to take pictures at the moment. It seems like my mission has gone into overdrive.
New blog entry from André: ‘Looking for the best heat shield for ISS’
André works with the ALTEA SHIELD experiment hardware
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 these risks: Altea Shield."
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.
Oleg, Don and André in their Russian Sokol suits (Credit: NASA)
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.
André counting down to return – interview with Euronews
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.