ISS technical glitch 'no concern'

23rd April 2004, Comments 0 comments

23 April 2004 , AMSTERDAM — US space agency Nasa has confirmed that one of the gyroscopes that serves as a stabiliser for the International Space Station (ISS) malfunctioned on Wednesday night, but Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers has dismissed fears.

23 April 2004

AMSTERDAM — US space agency Nasa has confirmed that one of the gyroscopes that serves as a stabiliser for the International Space Station (ISS) malfunctioned on Wednesday night, but Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers has dismissed fears.

"The stabiliser must be adjusted again. But people absolutely don't need to be concerned; everything works here fine," Kuipers said on Friday morning in a live interview with Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

The 45-year-old Dutchman entered the ISS on Wednesday morning after blasting off into space with the Russian Soyuz TM-4 space capsule from a launch site in Kazakhstan on Monday. It is his first mission into space.

During the interview, Kuipers was visible and audible for 10 minutes while the ISS station orbited from Poland to China. On board the space station are Kuipers' initial Soyuz crew members, Russian Gennadi Padalka and US astronaut Michael Fincke.

Russian Alexander Kaleri and American Michael Foale have been on board the ISS since October 2003 and will return to the Earth with Kuipers in the Soyuz TM-3 on 30 April.

Meanwhile, Kuipers said he has become accustomed to life in the space station. "The first few days it felt quite strange. I had a 'full' feeling in my head and did not feel the best, but not dangerously ill," he said.

Kuipers continued: "You must get used to everything being upside down and adjust from making wild movements". Kuipers also said that sleeping is difficult because you need to ensure you are tied down, and that it is difficult to achieve this.

The biggest impression was sights of the Earth. "To look at the Earth from the Soyuz at night was tremendous. I saw lightning flashes everywhere. It was like an extra-terrestrial experience".

At 400km above the Earth's surface, Kuipers is carrying out an extensive experiment programme in the fields of human physiology, biology, microbiology, physical science, earth observation, education and technology.

And referring to his return flight to Earth, Kuipers said it promised to be an "exciting adventure", but one he had "full confidence in".

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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