From 30 October to 10 November 2002, Frank flew the Odissea mission, a support flight to the International Space Station. He served as a flight engineer on the updated Soyuz TMA spacecraft on launch, and on a Soyuz TM for reentry. Frank’s prime task of the 11-day mission was to replace the Soyuz TM-34 vehicle attached to the Space Staion with the new Soyuz TMA-1.
During his nine days spent on the Space Station, Frank ran 23 experiments in life and physical sciences and education, including experiments in Europe’s Microgravity Science Glovebox. The mission was sponsored by the Belgian Federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs. From 27 May to 1 December 2009 Frank was sent on the OasISS mission, a long-duration flight to the International Space Station. As part of Expedition 21 Frank became the first European commander of the orbital outpost. He was also Soyuz TMA-15 and Expedition 20 flight engineer.
One of Frank’s key tasks during the mission was to operate the Station’s robotic arm to dock Japan’s first HTV cargo vehicle. He was also the main operator of the Japanese robotic arm, used to transfer experiments to Japan’s external payload facility on the country’s Kibo Laboratory. More than 1000 crew hours were dedicated to science. Special events were also held to support UNICEF’s Belgium WaSH campaign. Frank chaired the technical committee of the second EU–ESA Space Exploration Conference in Brussels in 2010.
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