After launch and nine minutes of propelled flight, the Soyuz TMA-4 is in orbit and it will now take the crew, Kuipers, Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and NASA astronaut Edward Fincke, about two days to reach the ISS. They are scheduled to dock at 07:00 CET on 21 April, with the hatch opening at 08:25.
Kuipers will be Flight Engineer on the Soyuz TMA-4, taking an active role in piloting and docking the spacecraft alongside Padalka, Soyuz Commander and ISS Expedition 9 Commander. Kuipers will also take the role of Flight engineer on his return flight. This is the fourth Soyuz TMA flight, the first having taken place in October 2002 with ESA astronaut Frank De Winne from Belgium on board. The Soyuz TMA-4 will replace the Soyuz TMA-3, which flew ESA astronaut Pedro Duque to the ISS on the Cervantes mission in October 2003. The Soyuz TMA-4 will remain docked with the ISS for approximately six months as an emergency lifeboat.
Andr Kuipers becomes the seventh European astronaut to visit the ISS, and the first from the Netherlands. He also becomes the second Dutch citizen in space, the first having been former ESA astronaut Wubbo Ockels in 1985. During his 11-day mission, nine of them on the ISS, Kuipers will carry out an extensive experiment programme in the fields of human physiology, biology, microbiology, physical science, Earth observation, education and technology.
The DELTA mission is sponsored by the Dutch Government through the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and many of the experiments were developed by Dutch researchers and built by Dutch industry and research institutions.
These experiments will cover a wide spectrum including research into instabilities of High Intensity Discharge lamps, which are widely used in sports stadiums and motorways. This experiment will be carried out in the European-built Microgravity Science Glovebox. An educational experiment will have children on Page: 1 2 Related biology news :1
Contact: Franco Bonacina
European Space Agency
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