Frank De Winne

Frank De Winne

Infobox Astronaut
name =Frank, Viscount De Winne

type =ESA Astronaut
nationality =Belgian
date_birth =April 25, 1961
place_birth =Ghent, Belgium
occupation =Test Pilot
rank =Colonel, Belgian Air Component
selection =1998 ESA Group
time =10d 20h 53m
mission =Soyuz TMA-1, Soyuz TM-34
insignia =|

Frank, Viscount De Winne (born April 25, 1961 in Ledeberg, Belgium) is a Belgian Air Component officer and an ESA astronaut. He is Belgium's second man in space (after Dirk Frimout).


De Winne is married and has three children. He enjoys football, small PC applications and gastronomy.


De Winne graduated in 1979 from the Royal School of Cadets. In 1984, he graduated from the Royal Military Academy with the degree of engineer.

Military career

Frank Luc De Winne followed the elementary flying school of the Belgian Air Component at Goetsenhoven. After graduating he flew Mirage 5 airplanes for the Air Force until he was attached to SAGEM in Paris to work on the safety of the Mirage. In 1991, De Winne completed the Staff Course at the Defence College in Brussels with the highest distinction. In 1992, De Winne received his degree as test pilot from the Test Pilot School in Boscombe Down, U.K., receiving the "McKenna Trophy" as well.

From December 1992, Major of Royal Belgian Air Component De Winne operated as a test pilot for the Belgian Air Force. From January 1994 until April 1995, he was responsible for flight safety of the "1st Fighter Wing" operating from Beauvechain. From April 1995 to July 1996, he was attached as senior test pilot to the European Participating Air Forces at Edwards AFB in California.

On February 12, 1997 De Winne encountered motor problems while flying in an F-16 over densely populated area near Leeuwarden. After the onboard computer failed, De Winne was faced with the choice of crashing in the Ijsselmeer or of ejecting over densely populated area. However, De Winne was able to land his crippled plane at a Dutch Air Base, a feat which earned him the "Joe Bill Dryden Semper Viper Award", the first non-American ever to get this award.

In August 1998, De Winne became commander of the "349 Squadron" operating from Kleine Brogel. During the NATO Operation Allied Force in the Balkans, De Winne commanded the Dutch-Belgian "Deployable Air Task Force". For his achievement during this operation, the Dutch government awarded him the degree of Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Frank De Winne has collected over 2.300 flying hours in Mirage, F-16, Tornado and Jaguar. He currently holds the rank of colonel in the Belgian Air Force. He also serves as the Chairman of the Belgian Armed Forces Flying Personnel Association.

Astronaut career

In October 1998, Frank De Winne was selected as an astronaut candidate by ESA. He graduated as an astronaut in 2000. In 2001, he was assigned to the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center near Moscow.

De Winne's sole spaceflight (30 October - 10 November 2002) was a trip as a flight engineer to the International Space Station in 2002, travelling to the station aboard Soyuz TMA-1 and returning aboard Soyuz TM-34. During his time in space, De Winne carried out successfully a programme of 23 experiments in the fields of life and physical sciences and education.

He was the back-up crew member for Léopold Eyharts of ISS Expedition 16.

On September 20 2007 ESA announced that De Winne will take part in a six month mission aboard the International Space Station in 2009 as a Flight Engineer on Expedition 19. [Cite web| url=|title=NASA Assigns Crews for STS-127 and Expedition 19 Missions |accessyear=2008|accessmonthday=February 11| publisher=NASA| year=2008| author=NASA] He is to travel there on board Soyuz TMA-15.cite web |url= | - Belgian astronaut returns to space | |accessdate=2007-09-20]

Honors and awards

* Officer of the Leopold Order
* Officer of the Order of the Crown
* Officer of the Order of Leopold II
* Military Cross 1st class
* Campaign Medal for foreign operations
* Officer of the Order of Oranje-Nassau
* NATO Medal for Kosovo

* "McKenna Trophy"
* "Joe Bill Dryden Semper Viper Award"
* On December 20, 2002 Frank De Winne was ennobled a viscount as a reward for his space achievements.
* He was awarded the "Medal of Friendship" from the Russian Federation.
* In 2003, De Winne received an honorary doctorate from Hasselt University.


External links

* [ ESA Astronauts: Frank De Winne]
* [ Spacefacts biography of Frank De Winne]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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