Frank De Winne is an astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA). He is the second Belgian astronaut, after Dirk Frimout, and the first European astronaut to command the ISS.
Viscount Frank De Winne, born 25 April 1961 in Ghent, obtained diplomas in telecommunications and civil engineer-polytechnician at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels. Afterwards, he followed a flying course and obtained his test pilot’s licence. De Winne has more than 2,300 hours of flying experience in various types of aircrafts, including Mirage, F‑16, Tornado and Jaguar.
De Winne went on two missions into space. In 2002, he participated in the Odissea mission, a support flight to the International Space Station. One of the main tasks of the 11-day mission was to replace a space vehicle attached to the ISS with a new TMA spacecraft. This was to provide a more modern “rescue ship” for the crew to use in case of emergency. During his stay on board the ISS, De Winne carried out experiments in the fields of life science, natural sciences and education.
His second mission took place in 2009, ISS-Expedition 21, for which he spent six months in the International Space Station (ISS). There, he carried out experiments to increase our knowledge of certain reactions in space. During this mission he became the first European commander of the ISS.
After his long-term spaceflight, Frank de Winne went to work on various mission-related tasks, such as physical recovery after a spaceflight, debriefing and outreach activities. De Winne was appointed Chairman of the Technical Committee of the second EU-ESA Space Exploration Conference.