Dutch astronaut launched into space
The Dutch astronaut André Kuipers is on his way the International Space Station ISS. The Soyuz rocket carrying Mr Kuipers and two other astronauts was launched on Wednesday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.
Accompanying André Kuipers is the Russian Oleg Kononenko and the American Don Pettit. Mr Kuipers and his two companions will arrive at the ISS on Friday.
Mr Kuipers will remain in space for five months, the longest stay so far for a Dutch astronaut. He has previously stayed in space for ten days in 2004. Dutchman Wubbo Ockels and an American born in the Netherlands, Louis van den Berg, spent a week in space in 1985.
Mr Kuipers will conduct 57 scientific experiments while in space. In particular he wants to see what prolonged weightlessness does to the human body. He also wants to send a message to children about the importance of space science.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide