After years of advanced training in Houston, Moscow (Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre), Cologne, Montreal and Tokyo, André Kuipers was launched into space for the second time on a Russian Soyuz rocket together with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and NASA astronaut Don Pettit on 21st December 2011 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. On board the Soyuz he was board engineer 1. Two days later he settled in at the International Space Station for six months. On board he was not only a physician and scientist, but also a flight engineer and maintenance engineer. On 1st July 2012 André Kuipers returned to earth, safely landing in the Kazakh Steppe.
André Kuipers is the first Dutchman with two Space missions to his name. His first mission to the ISS he flew in 2004 with Russian cosmonaut Genadi Padalka and NASA astronaut Mike Fincke. At the time, his second mission was the longest spaceflight in European history. André Kuipers spent a grand total of 204 days in Space: 11 days during his first flight, the DELTA Mission in 2004 and 193 days during the PromISSe mission in 2011/2012. As Soyuz flight engineer and on board the International Space Station (ISS), he performed many diverse tasks including scientific experiments, coupling of spaceships and vital maintenance and repair work.
Since his return to Earth in July 2012, André has inspired large groups of people in Europe, young and old with enthralling talks about his exploits in space, promoting Space activities.
Soon after, André Kuipers was also appointed as Ambassador of Teckniekpact - a Technology pact that was created by the Dutch government with the industry and the educational sector to stimulate young people to study science and technology subjects. André believes youngsters are the key to a sustainable future.
In 2013, André established the André Kuipers Foundation to support charities contributing to the sustainability of our planet, developing science and technology and providing for a successful future for our youth.
For his achievements, André received the Order of Friendship of Russia, presented to him by President Putin, and the NASA Space Flight Medal.