posted November 06, 2003 05:11 PM
Next ISS flight named DELTA
6 November 2003
The Dutch Ministers of Economical Affairs and of Education, Culture and
Science have announced the mission name of the next Soyuz flight to the
International Space Station, which has Dutch ESA astronaut André Kuipers
serving as flight engineer. This mission has been christened 'DELTA'.
Flanked by Kuipers and ESA's Director of Human Spaceflight, Mr Jörg
Feustel-Büechl, on Tuesday Ministers Brinkhorst and Van der Hoeven unveiled
the mission logo and also announced the experiments to be performed by
Kuipers during his stay on board the International Space Station (ISS).
Kuipers will launch on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in April 2004 to spend
more than a week on ISS. While there he will carry out an extensive
programme of scientific, technological and educational experiments as part
of the DELTA mission. These experiments are sponsored by Dutch Ministries
and therefore have a Dutch character.
The mission name DELTA refers to the experiments to be performed during the
flight. DELTA is the acronym for "Dutch Expedition for Life science,
Technology and Atmospheric research". It also refers to the Delta Works, the
network of dykes and dams that protect the Netherlands province of Zeeland
from sea flooding.
During the press conference it was explained that Kuipers would perform
experiments in the areas of biology, medical science, technology, physics
and Earth observation.
Special attention will be given to educational activities during the flight.
The Minister of Education, Culture and Science announced a special
experiment called "Seeds in Space". School children on Earth and Kuipers in
space will simultaneously grow the same species of lettuce. The question
this experiment seeks to answer whether the lettuce's growth will be in the
direction of light or forced by gravity.
ESA has also organised a Dutch website project that will allow pupils of
selected schools to chat with Kuipers by radio during his flight.
Mission DELTA will be overseen by ESA and is made possible by funding of the
Dutch Ministries of Economical Affairs and of Education, Culture and