The first Slovak astronaut, Group Captain Ivan Bella, was born on May 21st, 1964 in Brezno.
He undertook his space flight as a member of an international Russian-french-Slovak crew. The Soyuz TM-29 with the mission ©tefánik took off from the Baykonur launch site on February 20, 1999. The crew leader was Viktor Afanasyev and the third member board engineer Jean-Pierre Haigneré of France.
As part of the mission ©tefánik Bella carried out a research project which included dosimetry, senso-asymetry, metabolism and monitoring the influence of gravity on the post-embryonic development of Japanese quails on the MIR orbiting station.
After completion of experiments Soyuz TM-29 landed in Kazakhstan on February 28th.
Air Vice-Marshal ©tefan Gombík