Tue, Apr 20, 2004
A Comic Book, A Lump Of Cheese And Thee
Gus Grissom took a packet of dimes. Alan Shephard took his
When Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers launched for the
International Space Station Monday, he took with him a comic book
and a lump of cheese. Specifically, a lump of "mature" Dutch cheese
(phew!) and a sci-fi comic.
"We are good friends," Kuipers told reporters at the cosmodrome
in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, speaking alongside US astronaut Michael
Fincke and Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka (all pictured above).
All three were in pre-launch quarantine, getting ready for Monday's
mission. "It's like going camping with two friends in a small
Fincke and Padalka will remain aboard the ISS for at least six
months after their Soyuz capsule docks with the station Wednesday.
Kuipers, along with astronaut Michael Foale and cosmonaut Alex
Kaleri, will return to Earth April 30th.
Kuipers was a little embarrased Saturday when he became the star
of the impromptu news conference at Baikonur. He was peppered with
question from a mostly-Dutch media crowd.
"I think it is not doing justice to the Russians and to the
Americans," said Kuipers's girlfriend Helen Conijn, "yet they
send up people every six months and it is the first Dutch flight
since 1985. For the Dutch it's a special thing."
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