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Home > Space Patches > European Space
Commemorative André Kuipers Embroidered Patch (English version)
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Commemorative André Kuipers Embroidered Patch (Dutch language version)

The 'Space' Flying Dutchman

Limited edition embroidered commemorative patch. The patch is based on the national flag of the Netherlands. The motif 'From the Sea to the Stars' and 'the Space Flying Dutchman' is an integral feature. The spirit of exploration and the inspiring nature of spaceflight is captured by the galleon riding the sea with stars rising up to the International Space Station.

About André

André Kuipers -  Member of the European Astronaut Corps

Personal data

Born 5 October 1958, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Married. He has three daughters and a son. Enjoys flying, scuba diving, skiing, hiking, travelling and history.

In 1977, André Kuipers graduated from Van der Waals Lyceum (now Amstel Lyceum), Amsterdam. Received a Medical Doctor degree from the University of Amsterdam in 1987.


Member of the Aerospace Medical Association, the Dutch Aviation Medicine Society and the Dutch Association for Spaceflight. Ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund.

Special honours

Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau.


During his medical studies, André Kuipers worked in the Vestibular Department of the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where he was involved in research on the equilibrium system.

In 1987 and 1988, as an officer of the Royal Netherlands Air Force Medical Corps, he studied accidents and incidents caused by spatial disorientation of pilots of high-performance aircraft.

In 1989 and 1990, he worked for the Research and Development department of the Netherlands Aerospace Medical Centre in Soesterberg. He was involved in research on the Space Adaptation Syndrome, contact lenses for pilots, vestibular apparatus, blood pressure and cerebral blood flow in both high acceleration conditions in a human centrifuge and in microgravity conditions in aeroplanes. In addition, he performed medical examinations of pilots and medical monitoring of human centrifuge training, and gave lessons to pilots on the physiological aspects of flying.

Since 1991, Kuipers has been involved in the preparation, coordination, baseline data collection and ground control of physiological experiments developed by the European Space Agency for space missions. In particular, he was a Project Scientist for Anthrorack, a human physiology facility that flew on the D-2 Spacelab mission in 1993, and for two payloads, for lung and bone physiology, that flew on board the Mir space station during the six-month Euromir 95 mission.

He was then involved in the development of the Torque Velocity Dynamometer (TVD) that flew on the LMS Spacelab mission in 1996, the Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES), a device used in muscle research on board the Space Station, and an electronic muscle stimulator (PEMS) to be used on astronauts.

In July 1999, André Kuipers joined the European Astronaut Corps of the European Space Agency, whose homebase is at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany.

As well as participating in astronaut training, members of the European Astronaut Corps are assigned to projects involved in the assembly and on-board operations of the International Space Station.

André Kuipers was assigned to the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), Noordwijk, The Netherlands, continuing his former work for the Microgravity Payloads Division within the Directorate of Human Spaceflight.

Until the start of preparations for his flight, André supported an active research programme in the field of physiological adaptation to weightlessness in humans. He coordinated the European experiments on lung function and blood pressure regulation, using ESA’s specially developed apparatus, the Advanced Respiratory Monitoring System (ARMS), which was launched with the Space Shuttle mission STS-107.

As he did since 1991 André Kuipers continued to support the ESA parabolic flight campaigns, which are performed twice a year. He participated in these flights as an experiment operator, technician, test subject and flight surgeon.

In 2002, André Kuipers completed ESA’s Basic Training Programme, which is performed at EAC, Cologne, and Yuri A. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (Star City), near Moscow. Basic Training included lessons in science and technology, as well as the systems on board the International Space Station, winter and water survival training and Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA), or 'spacewalk', training.

During two Soyuz missions to the International Space Station with ESA astronauts, Soyuz 6S and 7S, André Kuipers supported ESA's ground team in the Russian Control Centre TsUP as 'Crew Interface Coordinator'. He was also backup of Pedro Duque for the Soyuz 7S mission, which took place in October 2003.

Since his spaceflight in 2004, Kuipers has performed post flight activities and collateral duties at EAC and ESTEC. Collateral duties have included support to ESA payload development, parabolic flight campaigns, healthcare spin-off, as well as to ground support for missions of other ESA astronauts. Kuipers also qualified as Eurocom, the crew communicator in Columbus Control Centre (COL-CC) in Munich, Germany.

In 2005, he was assigned as backup for the first Canadian ISS increment. He received training on the US and Russian ISS segments, as well as operator training in robotics and EVA training.

From 2007, Kuipers trained as backup to ESA astronaut Frank De Winne for Europe's second long-duration spaceflight to the International Space Station. He received user, operator or specialist level training on the ISS Russian segment, US segment, Japanese elements, Columbus module and payloads and the Automated Transfer Vehicle. From May 2009, Kuipers was assigned to Eurocom duties at COL-CC and EAC in support of De Winne's six-month mission.

Spaceflight experience

In December 2002, André Kuipers was assigned as a Flight Engineer for a Soyuz flight to the International Space Station (ISS). The DELTA Mission, sponsored by the Dutch government, within the framework of an agreement between ESA and the Russian Federal Space Agency, took place from 19-30 April 2004. The flight had three objectives. First, the exchange of the Soyuz spacecraft which serves as a ISS crew lifeboat for six months. Second, together with André, the new permanent crew was brought up to the Station, in exchange for the old crew, who returned with him to Earth. Third, André performed 21 experiments in the field of human physiology, biology, technology and education.

Current assignment

In August 2009, André Kuipers was assigned to Expedition 30/31, a long-duration mission to the International Space Station. Together with Russian Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Kuipers launched on 21 December 2011 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. During his PromISSe mission, Kuipers will take part in around 30 ESA experiments covering a wide range of disciplines. He will be the prime crewmember for the rendezvous and docking of ESA’s third ATV Vehicle Edoardo Amaldi. He will also be involved in berthing the new visiting vehicles Dragon (SpaceX) and Cygnus (Orbital Sciences) which are part of NASA’s commercial programme after the end of the Shuttle programme. Kuipers and his crewmates returned to earth on July 1.