Dutch astronaut selected for space mission

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André Kuipers has been selected by the ESA for a second space mission, which could see him walk in space this time.

The Hague – Dutch astronaut André Kuipers is to go on a second space mission. The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced that the Dutchman has been selected to make a trip to the International Space Station (ISS) in December 2011, to return half a year later in June 2012.

Economic Affairs Minister Maria van der Hoeven announced in November that she would personally lobby for a second mission for the Dutch astronaut. The minister offered an increased financial contribution to the ISS in return.

A German candidate was also in the running for the mission but Kuipers was finally selected.

"I am very happy. This is what you do it for," said Kuipers, who may get the chance to space walk on this latest mission, De Telegraaf reports. The astronaut will resume his training as soon as possible, much of which is already familiar to him, having been on reserve for an earlier flight.

In 2004, Kuipers spent ten days on the ISS on the international mission Delta carrying out biological and medical experiments, making him the second Dutch citizen to travel in space. The first Dutch astronaut was Wubbo Ockels, who went on a space shuttle flight in 1985. Dutch-born US citizen Lodewijk van den Berg a preceded him six months earlier.

Radio Netherlands / Anna Ritchie / Expatica

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