ESA astronaut André Kuipers returns to Earth
ESA astronaut André Kuipers, together with his Russian Commander Oleg Kononenko and NASA astronaut Donald Pettit, has landed safely on the steppes of Kazakhstan at 08:14 GMT (10:14 CEST) in Soyuz TMA-03M.
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.
The next ESA astronaut to board the Space Station is Luca Parmitano of Italy, who will fly on Soyuz TMA-09M in 2013 as member of Expedition 36/37.