On Tuesday 14 April, Glasgow Prestwick Airport welcomed home International Space Station Commander Shane Kimbrough after he finished a six month stint in space.
Shane left for his mission – which included four spacewalks – on October 28 last year as part of Expeditions 49 and 50, which was his second time in space.
The 49-year-old astronaut arrived at Glasgow Prestwick on a flight from Kazakhstan and underwent a number of medical tests as part of NASA’s research programme.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport provides fuel and ground services to the NASA aircraft and the Fixed Based Operations (FBO) lounge provides the NASA scientists with an area to carry out medical tests and valuable scientific research on the astronaut in the immediate hours after returning to earth.
Kris Baillie, Business Development Manager for Glasgow Prestwick Airport, said: “We have an excellent and long-standing relationship with NASA.
“Our Executive FBO provides NASA with the perfect stop over facility during these missions.
“Our highly trained staff provide quick refuel and ground services to the aircraft, whilst the astronaut and crew utilise our discreet FBO lounges and facilities.
“And our FBO lounge is fitted with full washroom and shower facilities, where astronauts take their first proper shower since leaving for space.”
“We look forward to supporting future astronaut recovery missions through our FBO.”
Glasgow Prestwick plays a vital role during the mission to return astronauts to Houston after landing on board the Russian Soyuz aircraft in Kazakhstan.
Kris explained: “NASA sends a specially equipped Gulfstream 5 aircraft that collects the astronauts after landing and returns them to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, via Glasgow Prestwick.
The airport has welcomed approximately 15 astronauts since the Space Shuttle was retired from service in 2011, and is set to be the UK and Europe’s first Spaceport.
Ron Smith, Chief Executive of Glasgow Prestwick Airport, said: “We’ve played a pivotal role in the space sector for a number of years.
“I believe our work with NASA plus the pre-eminent role the Prestwick Aerospace Campus plays in the UK aerospace industry make us the leading Spaceport candidate.”