OasISS mission heading to the International Space Station
OasISS mission heading to ISS with ESA astronaut Frank De Winne-first European to become Commander of International Space Station
ESA astronaut Frank De Winne is heading to the International Space Station at the start of his six-month OasISS mission. Together with Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk, De Winne launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, at 12:34 CEST (10:34 UT) today. Their Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) at 14:36 CEST (12:36 UT) on Friday 29 May. The arrival of De Winne, Romanenko and Thirsk at the ISS will mark the first ever six-member ISS crew, as they join the three Expedition crewmembers already in residence on the Station: Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, NASA astronaut Michael Barratt and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata.
For the first four months of his OasISS mission, De Winne will be a Flight Engineer as a member of the Expedition 20 crew, reporting to Expedition 20 Commander Gennady Padalka. With a rotation of three of the six crew members due in October, De Winne will take over as Commander of the Expedition 21 crew until his return to Earth in November. He is the first European to take on this role.