First Flight: 4/19/2004
Last Flight: 12/21/2011
André Kuipers is a Dutch physician and ESA astronaut. He became the second Dutch citizen, third Dutch-born and fifth Dutch-speaking astronaut upon launch of Soyuz TMA-4 on 19 April 2004. Kuipers returned to Earth aboard Soyuz TMA-3 11 days later.
Kuipers is the first Dutch astronaut to return to space. On 5 August 2009, Dutch minister of economic affairs Maria van der Hoeven, announced Kuipers was selected as an astronaut for International Space Station (ISS) Expeditions 30 and 31. He was launched to space on 21 December 2011 and returned to Earth on 1 July 2012.
European Space Agency - ESA
- Type: Multinational
- Abbreviation: ESA
- Administration: Director General: Josef Aschbacher
- Founded: 1975
- Country: AUT,BEL,CZE,DNK,FIN,FRA,DEU,GRC,IRE,ITA,LUZ,NLD,NOR,POL,PRT,ROU,ESP,SWE,CHE,GBR
The European Space Agency is an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states. Established in 1975 and headquartered in Paris, France, ESA has a worldwide staff of about 2,000 employees.
ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana.