Paris, 5 October 1998
European Space Agency (ESA) recruits new astronaut
The Director General of ESA, Antonio Rodota, together with the Dutch
Minister of Economic Affairs, Annemarie Jorritsma, announced Europe's
newest astronaut, Andre Kuipers, today at Space Expo in Noordwijk, The
André Kuipers (40), a medical doctor from Amsterdam, joins the other astronauts that make up the European corps. He will begin training around mid-1999 to qualify for future missions onboard the International Space Station.
Kuipers is a specialist in space-related medical research. Since 1991, he has participated in the preparation, data collection and ground control of physiological experiments developed by ESA for flight on board the US Space Shuttle, the Russian Mir space station and, in the future, on the International Space Station.
He also coordinates the life-science experiments for ESA parabolic flight campaigns and takes part as an experimenter, test subject and flight surgeon.
Kuipers is the second Dutch astronaut. The first one, Wubbo Ockels, was recruited in 1977 and flew on the Spacelab D-1 mission in 1985 with the US Space Shuttle.
ESA is in the process of creating one single European astronaut corps by merging existing national astronaut programmes with the ESA programme. A number of new astronauts are also being selected. The objective is to have a total of 16 astronauts by mid-2000 in order to be able to meet the demand for European astronauts foreseen in the coming years as the International Space Station is being built and research onboard gest underway. Presently, the European corps comprises 12 astronauts: Jean-Francois Clervoy, Leopold Eyharts, Jean-Pierre Haignere (France); Thomas Reiter, Hans Schlegel, Gerhard Thiele (Germany); Umberto Guidoni, Paolo Nespoli, Roberto Vittori (Italy); Pedro Duque (Spain); Christer Fuglesang (Sweden); and Claude Nicollier (Switzerland). Their home base is the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.
For further information, see the following Web pages:
European Astronaut Centre
International Space Station
ESA in general
European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut
Born 5 October 1958, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He has two daughters.
Enjoys flying, scuba diving, skiing, hiking, travelling and history.
In 1977, André Kuipers graduated from Van der Waals Lyceum (now Amstel Lyceum), Amsterdam.
Received a Medical Doctor degree from the University of Amsterdam in 1987.
Member of the Aerospace Medical Association, the Dutch Aviation Medicine Society and
the Dutch Association for Spaceflight.
During his medical studies, André Kuipers worked in the Vestibular Department of the
Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where he was involved in
research on the equilibrium system.
In 1987 and 1988, as an officer of the Royal Netherlands Air Force Medical Corps, he studied accidents and near-accidents caused by spatial disorientation of pilots of high-performance aircraft.
In 1989 and 1990, he worked for the Research and Development Department of the Netherlands Aerospace Medical Centre in Soesterberg. He was involved in research on the Space Adaptation Syndrome, contact lenses for pilots, vestibular apparatus, blood pressure and cerebral blood flow. In addition, he performed medical examinations of pilots and medical monitoring of human centrifuge training, and gave lessons to pilots on the physiological aspects of flying.
Since 1991, Kuipers has been involved in the preparation, coordination, baseline data collection and ground control of physiological experiments developed by the European Space Agency for space missions. In particular, he was a Project Scientist for Anthrorack, a human physiology facility that flew on the D-2 Spacelab mission in 1993, and for two payloads, for lung and bone physiology, that flew on board the Mir space station during the six-month Euromir 95 mission. He was then involved in the development of the Torque Velocity Dynamometer (TVD) that flew on the LMS Spacelab mission in 1996, the Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES), a device used in muscle research on board the Space Station, and an electronic muscle stimulator (PEMS) to be used on astronauts.
André Kuipers provides support for the life science experiments during the ESA parabolic flight campaigns, which are performed twice a year. He participates in flights as an experiment operator, technician, test subject and flight surgeon.
In July 1999, André Kuipers joined the European Astronaut Corps of the European Space Agency, whose homebase is at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany.
As well as participating in astronaut training, members of the European Astronaut
Corps are assigned to projects involved in the assembly and on-board operations
of the International Space Station.
André Kuipers was assigned to the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), Noordwijk, The Netherlands, continuing his former work for the Microgravity Payloads Division within the Directorate of Human Spaceflight.
Until the start of preparations for his flight, André supported an active research programme in the field of physiological adaptation to weightlessness in humans. He coordinated the European experiments on lung function and blood pressure regulation, using ESA’s specially developed apparatus, the Advanced Respiratory Monitoring System (ARMS), which was launched with the Space Shuttle mission STS-107.
In 2002, André Kuipers completed ESA’s Basic Training Programme, which is performed at EAC, Cologne, and Yuri A. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (Star City), near Moscow. Basic Training includes lessons in science and technology, as well as the systems on board the International Space Station, survival training and Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA), or ‘spacewalk’, training.
As ‘Cap Com’ during the recent Belgian Soyuz flight ‘Odissea’, which included Belgian ESA astronaut Frank De Winne, André supported ESA’s ground team in the Russian Control Centre TsUP.
In December 2002, André Kuipers was assigned as a Board Engineer for a Soyouz flight to the International Space Station (ISS) which is scheduled to take place end of April 2004.
Andre Kuipers was also assigned as backup of Pedro Duque for the Soyuz 7S mission to the International Space Station ISS, planned for launch on October 18th, 2003.
Last updated: September 11, 2003.