Frank De Winne

  • ISS 5S   Soyuz TM -34 TMA-1/Sojus (2002)
  • ISS Expedition 20
  • ISS Expedition 21

Frank Luc, Viscount De Winne ( born April 25, 1961 in Ghent, Belgium ) is the second Belgian astronaut and the first Western European ISS Commander.

Military training

De Winne began his training at the Royal Military Academy in 1979 and was educated there until 1984 Civil Engineer ( specialization in communication).

1986 acquired the 25 -year-old De Winne his pilot's license. In the course of his career with the Belgian Air Force, he received briefings in the weapons systems Mirage, F -16 and Tornado.

In 1997, he was awarded for a successful landing maneuver, inflicting damage with total failure of the engine of his F -16 and without man and machine of "Joe Bill Dryden Semper Viper Award". He was the first non- American to win the award.

In 1998 he assumed command of the squadron 349 in the Belgian Air Force Base Kleine Brogel -.

In 1999 he took part as commander of the Belgian-Dutch Task Force at the NATO-led Kosovo War.

Space flights

De Winne flew on 30 October 2002 as a Flight Engineer on Soyuz TMA-1 to the International Space Station (ISS) and returned on November 10, Soyuz TM -34 back to Earth.

On 27 May 2009 De Winne launched as a flight engineer of the ISS Expedition 20 Soyuz TMA -15 to the ISS. He spent a total of over 185 days on the ISS. As a part of the crew was replaced in October 2009, the crew name to ISS Expedition 21 changed after the previous commander Gennady Padalka ISS had finished his stay on the space station, De Winne was since October 11, 2009 Commander of the ISS, the first Western Europeans in this function. On 1 December 2009, De Winne landed with the spacecraft Soyuz TMA -15 in Kazakhstan. His stay aboard the ISS was the project name OasISS.


On 20 December 2002, De Winne was raised by the Belgian King Albert II to the peerage, his title is that of a viscount (French) or Burggraaf ( Dutch). The same title was also the first Belgian in space, Dirk Frimout obtained.

As part of a visit to the Belgian royal couple at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne in March 2009, De Winne was promoted by King Albert II to brigadier general of the Belgian Armed Forces.


De Winne is married and has three children. His wife Lena Russian space engineer who worked for Mir and ISS missions. Entitled My Countdown, she published a book that portrays De Winne's space flight from the point of view of the wife who is counting the days until landing.