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André Kuipers arrives back on earth after 193 days in space

Sunday 01 July 2012

Dutch astronaut André Kuipers arrived back on Earth on Sunday morning after a six month stay on the ISS international space station.

The Soyuz capsule bringing Kuipers and two other astronauts - Oleg Kononenko (Russia) and Don Pettit (US) - back to earth landed on the Kazachstan Steppes on schedule and was followed live on Dutch television.

Kuipers’ 193-day mission is the longest European space flight in history. He had been due to return on May 16 but his departure was delayed because of problems with the Russian rocket which was due to pick him up, Nos television reported.

Kuipers also spent some 10 days on the ISS in 2004.

Budget cuts

Ironically, Kuipers' record-breaking space visit came to an end just days after the government agreed to slash spending on space research from €100m a year to €63m, news agency ANP reported.

'The Netherlands is going to miss out on contracts. Jobs, knowledge and technology will be lost,' Bart Reijen, director of space technology firm Dutch Space told ANP on Sunday.

The cuts will also affect Dutch support for the European Space Agency, which is based in Noordwijk, and hundreds of jobs are at risk, Reijen said. Some 2,500 people from all over Europe work at ESA.

In April, a group of 125 scientists urged the government and its scientific advisory bodies not to cut spending on experiments in space.

Is it important to keep funding space research? Have your say using the comments form below.

© DutchNews.nl

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Readers' comments (3)

André Kuipers arrives back on earth after 193 days in space. I pass my congratulation on to Mr. Kuipers.

By Terence Hale | July 1, 2012 5:11 PM

My 9 year old son has found this inspiring. This is what its all about...the future.

By Joy | July 2, 2012 8:57 AM

I think it's on of the most important things to do for us, as a species (keep funding space exploration) and I am willing to pay taxes for this.
Also it is proven that technology from the space program(s) is always having a lot of spinoffs for civilian usage (most of our technology today is closely related to spinoffs from the Manhattan project and from the space programs).

By Alex | July 2, 2012 12:22 PM

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