Andr Kuipers' rocket put in place

19th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

The rocket which will take Dutch astronaut André Kuipers to the International Space Station on Wednesday is in position. The rocket was put in place early on Monday morning at the launch base in the Kazachstan town of Baikonur. The operation to move the rocket eight kilometres took two hours.

Mr Kuipers will start his second mission in space on Wednesday. The Amsterdammer will spend five months at the international space station ISS. No Dutch astronaut has ever been in space for so long. In 2004, Mr Kuipers spent 11 days at the ISS. Wubbo Ockels and the Dutch-American Lodewijk van den Berg spent a week in space in 1985.

André Kuipers had dreamt of becoming an astronaut since he was 12 years old. He studied medicine at the University of Amsterdam, where he researched spatial disorientation in pilots and space sickness in astronauts. In 1991 he started work at the European Space Agency.

Mr Kuipers will be accompanied on the mission by Russian Oleg Kononenko and American Don Pettit. A month ago, the Dutch astronaut sent a supply of Dutch cheese into space in advance of the mission.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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