Press Release

Space Station ‘taxi’ flight returns ESA astronaut to Earth

By SpaceRef Editor
October 31, 2001
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ESA astronaut Claudie Haigner and her two Russian colleagues were
welcomed back to Earth today (Wednesday, 31 October 2001) after
successfully delivering a new ‘lifeboat’ to the International Space

The Andromëde crew safely descended to Earth in a Soyuz capsule, ending a
10 day Russian-French mission on a dewy autumn morning in Baikonur,
Kazakhstan at 05:59 CET.

Together with fellow crew members Commander Victor Afanassiev and Flight
Engineer Konstantin Kozeev, French born Claudie spent eight days on board
the Space Station and described the mission as “a challenging and
intensely fulfilling experience”.

The Andromëde crew’s prime objective was to deliver the Station’s new
lifeboat and exchange it for an older Soyuz vehicle which had been
attached to the Station for the past six months, for their lift back to

“The Space Station is a remarkable feat of engineering, and is taking
shape day after day. We were able to set up experiments and carry out a
series of medical tests,” said Claudie. “Europe is playing a significant
role in the development of the Space Station which will be a key for
space-based science and technology development in the coming years”.

Whilst on board the crew also performed a range of experiments in life
sciences, biology, materials science and Earth observation – some designed
and conceived by children and young people from European schools and

Claudie made history as the first European woman to visit the Space
Station and also as the first non-Russian woman astronaut to fly in a
Soyuz spacecraft as Flight Engineer.

The Andromëde mission was initiated by the French Minister for Research
and has been undertaken under an agreement between the French space agency
(CNES) and its Russian counterpart Rosaviakosmos. Andromède is the prelude
to a series of future manned missions to the Space Station for European
astronauts using the Russian Soyuz spacecraft in the frame of an agreement
signed by ESA and Rosaviakosmos in May 2001. The next scheduled flight is
in the Spring of 2002, with ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori of Italian

For further information, please contact :

ESA Communication Department

Media Relations Office

Tel.: +33(0)

Fax: +33(0)

SpaceRef staff editor.