Frank De Winne became the first European commander of the International Space Station in October 2009 with the departure of Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka who had filled this role since April. De Winne is the first non-American and non-Russian to take on this role.
"OasISS" refers to many aspects of the International Space Station as well as to human exploration, ranging from the exploration of deserts on Earth by European explorers, to the deserts we will find on other planets, where humankind might be able set up an oasis and provide a permanent human outpost to live on that planet.
The ISS itself can be considered an oasis in space for its astronauts and cosmonauts, whilst Earth is often referred to as the Blue Planet and represents an oasis for humankind in the Universe.
The name also refers to the challenge to find an oasis, where human exploration is a challenge in itself.
OasISS also ties in with De Winne's role as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF Belgium. In support of the UNICEF 2009 WASH campaign dedicated to water, sanitation and hygiene, several events will be implemented during his flight to draw public attention to the availability and cleanliness of water which is critically important for human life.
As Frank De Winne himself stated, "Water is a scarce resource on board the ISS; responsible use and recycling in space can help develop efficient water processing applications for Earth, which are particularly important for the developing countries".