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Dutch astronaut André Kuipers ready for liftoff

Dutch astronaut André Kuipers is now officially ready for liftoff on 21 December: he and his crewmates have passed their final exams and left for the launch site yesterday. Along with André’s plane, his PromISSe mission blog also took off yesterday.

Every crew destined for the International Space Station must endure two days of final exams in the simulators at Star City near Moscow before they are cleared for flight.

And it is not a formality — they have to show they can control their Soyuz spacecraft and handle the Station in all situations.

Following an ESA space mission has never been easier. André is tweeting on @astro_andre and writing his own mission diary in Dutch (‘Logboek’). A special mission blog was also launched yesterday: the PromISSe blog covers everything around the mission.