List of Dutch astronauts
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As of 2009, The Netherlands is the country of birth to three astronauts, one of whom went to space as an American citizen. Two of the three astronauts flew to space on board a Space Shuttle, while one of them used the Russian Soyuz to reach space.
Lodewijk van den Berg
The first Dutch-born astronaut to have been to space is Lodewijk van den Berg. He was born March 24, 1932, in Sluiskil, Zeeland. Van den Berg was launched aboard Space Shuttle Challenger on April 29, 1985, as a Payload Specialist of mission STS-51B. During the seven-day mission, Van den Berg conducted several experiments on crystal growth.
At the time of his flight, Van den Berg was not a Dutch citizen, having been naturalized as US citizen and by Dutch law had to revoke his citizenship.
The second Dutch-born astronaut and first Dutch citizen to have been to space is Wubbo Ockels. He was born March 28, 1946 in Almelo, Overijssel. Ockels rocketed towards space aboard Space Shuttle Challenger on October 30, 1985 – just over half a year after Lodewijk van den Berg – as a Payload Specialist of mission STS-61A. He died on May 18, 2014.
The third Dutch-born astronaut and second Dutch citizen to have been to space is André Kuipers. He was born October 5, 1958 in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland. Kuipers, unlike his two predecessors, was launched by a Soyuz spacecraft: Soyuz TMA-4. He served as flight engineer. During his eleven-day trip towards the International Space Station (ISS), Kuipers conducted twenty-one experiments on a wide range of subjects.
Kuipers' second mission was ISS Expedition 30 (as Flight Engineer 4) and he will also participate in ISS Expedition 31 (as Flight Engineer 1). He was launched from Baikonur on December 21, 2011 and returned on July 1, 2012.