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Science Student - Stephen Smith

Belgian astronauts - an apology

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Feb 08, 02:35 PM

Last night during Steve Smith's piece on proposals to send more Britons into space - watch it here - it was suggested that there hadn't been any Belgian astronauts.

Dirk FrimoutHowever, as viewer Danny noted, Belgium has had not one, but two men in space. The first was Dirk Frimout way back in 1992, who flew as a payload specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

An unsourced note on his wikipaedia entry claims he sparked "Frimout-mania" on his return to Belgium and spoke with Prince Philippe whilst aboard Atlantis. We can't confirm the extent of Frimout-mania but we'd love to hear of any examples. We did find this apparent homage on YouTube - La danse du Dirk Frimout.

The second Belgian in space was Frank De Winne, who flew as a member of a Russian Soyuz programme in 2002, and is due to fly again on another Soyuz mission to the International Space Station in 2009.

So apologies to Belgium and its astronauts and all its space enthusiasts.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 06:45 PM on 15 Feb 2008,
  • neil robertson wrote:

Blistering barnacles and thundering typhoons .... surely Tintin was the
first Belgian journalist in space?!

http://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/mills/main.htm for the only full-time public observatory in Britain - which has a municipal astronomer here in Dundee!

  • 2.
  • At 10:26 PM on 15 Feb 2008,
  • Luc H wrote:

I was just as shocked when I heard that on NN...

And I fully agree that Tintin was the first one, and, with all due respect to the 2 others certainly the most important one!

I would gladly argued that at least a full generation, which happens to be the one that went to the moon, have had their views on space and the moon shaped by Tintin.

A comic maybe, but of huge cultural influence. Steve Smith should read his classics...

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