28 August 2013ESA’s Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen has been assigned to be launched on a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in September 2015 for a mission to the International Space Station.
This 10-day mission will be Andreas’s first flight into space and the first ever space mission by a Danish astronaut.
The flight is directly connected to the new era in ISS operations: two experienced spacefarers from the USA and Russia will work on the Station for one year from May 2015. During his stay onboard the ISS, he will conduct a series of experiments preparing future missions and testing new technologies.
“I’m happy to announce this mission as this is already the fifth flight assignment for the class recruited in 2009,” said Thomas Reiter, ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations.
“With first of the new class, Luca Parmitano, currently working on the Space Station, and three other astronauts already training for their imminent missions, ESA’s new astronauts are very busy.
“Thanks to the decisions of the Member States at the Ministerial Council last November, we will be able to fulfil our commitment to fly all six newly selected astronauts before the end of 2017,” said Mr Reiter.
“This mission is the fulfilment of a life-long dream and the culmination of many years of hard work and training,” said Andreas Mogensen.
“I am excited to be able to participate in ESA’s outstanding programme of science and technology development on board the International Space Station and I am honoured to represent Denmark and Europe in space. The mission is a unique opportunity for Europe to develop and test the technologies necessary for the future of human space exploration.”
New technology and science mission
The launch of the mission will take place on 30 September, 2015 with the launch of Soyuz TMA-18 (44S) and it will end on 10 October, when Andreas will land with Soyuz TMA-16 (42S).
During his flight, Andreas will test novel ways of interaction between the ground and space crews with a mobile device that allows astronauts to operate it hands-free and with several multi-user communication techniques. The system will have also advanced 3D visualisation and augmented reality –features that will be fully exploited with added wearable computers and cameras to allow the general public to follow activities on the ISS ‘through the eyes of an ESA astronaut’ potentially in real time.
Andreas’s short mission is an excellent opportunity for several science studies, particularly in life science. By adding samples and measurements from a short-duration mission astronaut to material gathered and being collected during long-duration missions, the value of the biomedical statistics is increased. All the instrumentation needed for physiology, biology and material science experiments is already available in the Columbus laboratory and samples can be returned quickly back to Earth for further analysis.
A short-duration mission is also perfect for testing a new generation of health sensors, vital measurement devices and electro-muscle-mobility devices. These have direct benefit for future exploration missions and even sooner on Earth, for instance with operators of heavy machinery or with rehabilitation after sports injuries.
Andreas will be specially suited too: he will assess a new ‘skinsuit’ during normal daily activities. This is tight garment made from elastic material mimicking Earth gravity and thus passively mitigating deconditioning of an astronaut’s body during spaceflight.
Along with the Soyuz arrival, the ISS will host up to nine persons for a while – a record that has not been broken since retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011.
Between Luca’s ongoing mission and flight of Andreas in 2015, ESA astronauts Alexander Gerst and Samantha Cristoforetti, are scheduled for launch in 2014 for long-duration missions to the Station. After Andreas, the next European destined for space will be Tim Peake, who will start his long-duration mission on the ISS as a member of the Expedition 46/47 in December 2015.
This new technology packed mission will be a dream flight for an aerospace engineer like Andreas. Not only will the mission include many firsts and demonstrations, but also Andreas will fly as the flight engineer in the ‘left seat’ of Soyuz, making him second-in-command of their vehicle.
Andreas was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 2 November 1976, and he received a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Imperial College London, UK, in 1999, followed by a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas, Austin, USA, in 2007.
He was selected as an ESA astronaut in May 2009 and completed the astronaut basic training programme in November 2010 with the five other astronauts of the 2009 class. Andreas is a qualified Eurocom at the Columbus Control Centre in Munich, where he has been communicating with the astronauts on the International Space Station.
In addition to his training and work activities, Andreas worked for ESA on the Lunar Lander programme at ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands, where he was involved in the design of the guidance, navigation and control system for a precision lunar landing.
From his homebase at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, Andreas will start his mission training with the partners of the International Space Station. This will take him to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA, and Star City, near Moscow, Russia, as well as Japan and Canada.
Andreas blogs about space exploration and his astronaut training activities in Danish at videnskab.dk/profil/andreas-mogensen.
The Soyuz rocket is rolled out to the launch pad by train on Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Launch of the Soyuz rocket is scheduled for Dec. 19 and will send Expedition 34/35 Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn of NASA, Soyuz Commander Roman Romanenko and Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) on a five-month mission aboard the International Space Station.
Image Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi
WASHINGTON — NASA Television will provide live coverage of events surrounding three International Space Station crew members who are scheduled to end four months on the orbiting laboratory with a landing in Kazakhstan on Sunday, Sept. 16.
Expedition 32 Flight Engineer Joe Acaba of NASA and Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineer Sergei Revin of the Russian Federal Space Agency will undock their Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft from the space station at 7:09 p.m. EDT, heading for a landing at 10:53 p.m. (8:53 a.m. Kazakhstan time Sept. 17) north of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan. Their return will wrap up 125 days in space since their launch from Kazakhstan on May 15, including 123 days on the station.
At the time of undocking, Expedition 33 formally will begin aboard the station under the command of NASA’s Sunita Williams. She and her crewmates, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will tend to the station as a three-person crew for a month until the arrival of three new crew members in mid-October, including NASA astronaut Kevin Ford.
NASA Television coverage on Sept. 16 and 17 of the Expedition 32 landing and post-landing activities will include:
3:30 p.m. — Farewells and hatch closure (hatch closure at 3:55 p.m.).
6:45 p.m. — Undocking and departure (undocking at 7:09 p.m.).
9:30 p.m. — Deorbit burn and landing (deorbit burn at 9:56 p.m.; landing at 10:53 p.m.).
10:30 a.m. — Video File of landing and post-landing activities
For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit:
For more information about the International Space Station and its crews, visit:
ESA astronaut André Kuipers returns to Earth
Welcome back André
1 July 2012
PR 19 2012 – ESA astronaut André Kuipers, together with his Russian Commander Oleg Kononenko and NASA astronaut Donald Pettit, has landed safely on the steppes of Kazakhstan at 08:14 GMT (10:14 CEST) in Soyuz TMA-03M.
During his six-month PromISSe mission on the International Space Station, André conducted over 50 scientific experiments in the world’s only permanent microgravity laboratory.
Now that the orbital outpost is fully assembled, astronauts on the Space Station can devote more time to research.
André freezing blood samples
A medical doctor by training, André conducted biophysics experiments that could offer insights into fighting osteoporosis, migraines and immune cell death. He also performed experiments in other domains such as biology or looking at improving computer models of fluids. Some experiments might serve to prepare for further exploration of space.
In addition to his scientific workload, André carried out maintenance and operational tasks. Highlights included receiving ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle Edoardo Amaldi cargo ferry and docking the first commercial spacecraft, Dragon.
André has been sharing the privilege of living in space with the world via social media. His photographs, blogs and tweets have been followed closely by millions worldwide bringing spaceflight closer for people on Earth.
The crew will now fly to Houston, Texas, where they will undergo medical checks before meeting the media on Friday 6 July at 13:00 GMT (15:00 CEST).
European media are welcome to follow the event and ask questions via a live video link at ESA’s ESTEC science centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Media can address André in English, Dutch and German.
The next ESA astronaut to board the Space Station is Luca Parmitano of Italy, who will fly on Soyuz TMA-09M in 2013 as member of Expedition 36/37.
About the European Space Agency
The European Space Agency is Europe’s gateway to space.
ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
ESA has 19 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 17 are Member States of the EU.
ESA has Cooperation Agreements with nine other States of the EU and is negotiating an Agreement with the one remaining (Bulgaria). Poland is in the process of becoming ESA’s 20th Member State. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.
By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.
ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.
Today, it launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System, and cooperates in the human exploration of space.
Galileo IOV satellite
ESA’s first two Galileo navigation satellites are both now fuelled and checked for their launch by Soyuz from French Guiana on 20 October.
The two Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites reached Europe’s Spaceport last month. Galileo’s second flight model, FM2, touched down on 7 September on an Antonov-124 and the Galileo Protoflight Model followed it seven days later on an Ilyushin 76.
Both satellites are now fuelled and ready to be mated this week onto the dispenser that will hold them in place during launch before deploying them into their final 23 222 km orbit.
Dispenser check-out with upper stage
The combined payload stack – the dispenser and both satellites – will then be transported from the fuelling facility to the Upper Composite Integration Facility S3B for integration with their Fregat-MT upper stage and subsequent encapsulation.
Follow the Galileo In-Orbit Validation launch campaign from the new Soyuz-Galileo IOV minisite (see right hand link).
Encapsulated under fairing
Soyuz from French Guiana
This month’s launch will be historic: the first Soyuz launch from a spaceport outside of Baikonur in Kazakhstan or Plesetsk in Russia.
As a medium-class vehicle, Soyuz will complement Ariane and Vega to extend the flexibility and competitiveness of Europe’s launcher family.
Galileo IOV in orbit
The first two Galileo IOV satellites, launched this month, will be followed next year by two more. This quartet of satellites, built by a consortium led by EADS Astrium Germany, will form the operational nucleus of the full Galileo satnav constellation.
They combine the best atomic clock ever flown for navigation – accurate to one second in three million years – with a powerful transmitter to broadcast precise navigation signals.
Final testing of the Soyuz launch site at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana was completed in May with a simulated launch campaign. It ensured that the Soyuz and the new facilities work together perfectly, while allowing the teams to train under realistic launch conditions. It also validated all the procedures during the final phase before launch.
This time-lapse shows the vehicle transfer from the preparation building to the launch zone. It is then raised into its vertical launch position. The mobile gantry is rolled out to the pad and the vehicle’s upper composite, comprising the Fregat upper stage and payload fairing, is hoisted on top of the launcher.
20 September 2011
The clock is ticking for the first Soyuz flight from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. The rocket, which will carry the first two satellites of Europe’s Galileo navigation system into orbit, is being prepared for launch on 20 October.
Final assembly began on 12 September of the three-stage Soyuz ST-B, consisting of four first-stage boosters clustered around the core second stage, topped off by the third stage.
The Launcher Flight Readiness Review in July gave the green light to begin assembling the rocket.
The campaign began on 16 August in the assembly and testing building – known by its original ‘MIK’ Russian acronym – with electrical and mechanical tests of the upgraded, reignitable Fregat-MT upper stage. It will carry an additional 900 kg of propellants for its double-satellite load.
Assembly of the three-stage Soyuz
Fregat was then moved to the Payload Preparation Building S3B to fill its four spherical propellant tanks.
Soyuz will be rolled out horizontally to the launch pad on 14 October and raised into its vertical launch position.
A new 45 m-tall mobile gantry was built specifically for Soyuz operations in French Guiana. It protects the satellites and the launcher from the humid tropical environment and provides access to the Soyuz at various levels for checkout activities.
The upper composite, comprising the Fregat upper stage, payload and fairing, is then hoisted on top of Soyuz.
October’s launch will be doubly historic: the first Soyuz from a spaceport outside of Baikonur in Kazakhstan or Plesetsk in Russia and the start of building Europe’s Galileo satnav constellation.
Assembly of the three-stage Soyuz
The next step will be to attach the satellites to Fregat, followed by the fairing.
Next year, the second pair of satellites will join them in orbit, proving the design of the Galileo system in advance of the other 26 satellites.
These first four satellites, built by a consortium led by EADS Astrium Germany, will form the operational nucleus of the full Galileo satnav constellation.
Soyuz on launch pad during dry-run
Soyuz at CSG
‘Soyuz at CSG’ – drawing on the French name of Centre Spatial Guyanais – is an ESA programme with the participation of seven Member States.
Construction of the Soyuz launch site began in February 2007, although initial excavation and ground infrastructure work began in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
It is almost identical to the other Soyuz sites in Kazakhstan and Russia, although adapted to conform to European safety regulations. The most visible difference is the mobile gantry.
ESA handed over the site to Arianespace, responsible for the Soyuz launch operations, in March. A simulated launch campaign was completed in May.
Slideshow available here.
The Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft is seen on the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Saturday, April 2, 2011. The launch of the Soyuz spacecraft with Expedition 27 Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev, NASA Flight Engineer Ron Garan and Russian Flight Engineer Andrey Borisenko is scheduled for Tuesday, April 5, 2011. The Soyuz, which has been dubbed ‘Gagarin,’ is launching one week shy of the 50th anniversary of the launch of Yuri Gagarin from the same launch pad in Baikonur on April 12, 1961 to become the first human to fly in space. The first stage of the Soyuz booster is emblazoned with the name Gagarin and the cosmonaut’s likeness.
Image Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi