van Loon, J.J.W.A., Medina, F.J., Stenuit, H. et al. Microgravity Sci. Technol (2007) 19: 9. doi:10.1007/BF02919448
From the autumn of 2001 till spring of 2005 a series of six flights to the International Space Station, ISS, were conducted using the Russian Soyuz manned launcher. These flights initially known as ‘taxi-missions’, were characterized by the participation and co-funding from both the European Space Agency, ESA, and the five national delegations from France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands. The national participation was reflected both in the flight of a cosmonaut/astronaut, originating from the country co-sponsoring the flight as well as in the origin of the majority of experiments and other activities carried out during these missions. In these six Soyuz missions: Andromède (October 2001), Marco Polo (April 2002), Odissea (October 2002), Cervantes (October 2003), DELTA (April 2004) and Eneide (April 2005), some more than one hundred experiments were carried out. These experiments covered the areas of basic and applied research and technology in biology, human physiology, fluid and plasma physics, material science and Earth observation. Also a significant number of education activities were part of these missions. This paper gives a complete overview of these missions, of all science, education and related activities performed. The perspectives of these activities in the light of the space exploration programs in the XXI century and some of the uncertainties and paradoxes are discussed.