Last week the aerospace organisation, ESTEC, hosted the AndrÃ© Kuipers Pre Launch media event. ERASMUS USOC (which is manned by NLR specialists) supported an experiment conducted in the USOC clean room, which attracted great media attention.
Erasmus USOC, situated at ESA-ESTEC, is one of nine operation centres that lead various experiments in space. The other eight USOCs are located in the various other ESA countries.
During the media event, Kuipers explained how he has prepared for his upcoming mission to the International Space Station (ISS). His space flight is scheduled for next December. The exact launch date is not yet known however, owing to a recent accident involving the Russian Soyuz rocket. Kuipers also unveiled the name of the mission (‘PromISSe’) and the logo.
In addition to Kuipers’ contributions, NSO (Netherlands Space Office) and ESA astronaut, Christer Fuglesang, were also present to provide additional support and information.
During the event, Kuipers conducted an experiment in which NLR specialists from the ERASMUS USOC supported him in the clean room (see accompanying photo). The USOC sharply monitored the proceedings. During the experiment, Kuipers placed an experimental container containing biological material (a dummy) in an incubator, which is a type of temperature-regulated centrifuge box. Kuipers determined the correct temperature and controlled the correct centrifuge parameters, while maintaining contact with USOC during the experiment’s progression and indicating when USOC could assume control over the experiment (see link below). Kuipers has been specially trained to conduct such experiments. This experiment is scheduled to occur soon after he arrives at the ISS.
The media event was well attended, with some 62 media representations present in Noordwijk. See for example: http://nos.nl/video/271347-kuipers-oefent-door-ondanks-uitstel-lancering.html