Astronaut Maurer before flight to the ISS: “An outstanding adventure”

Status: 09.09.2021 12:09

The countdown is on: just under seven weeks, the ISS will again receive a visit from a German. Before the flight, astronaut Maurer talked about the mission, his hard training and what is special about his spacesuit.

The German astronaut Matthias Maurer is expected to fly into space in just under seven weeks. It starts from the USA at the end of October. Then the 51-year-old Saarlander will start with three NASA colleagues on the ISS, with a Crew Dragon rocket from the private provider SpaceX. As a representative of the astronaut corps of the European Space Agency (ESA) he participates in the mission “Cosmic Kiss”.

Maurer would be only the fourth German on the space station and the twelfth German in space.

The next German astronaut Matthias Maurer (original sound)

tagesschau24 11:00 a.m., 9.9.2021

Training with the space suit is the hardest

At a press conference in Cologne, he spoke about his upcoming deployment on the ISS. “Of course I’m happy that the time has come,” said Maurer. “Now we are finally heading for the space mission.” He called the mission an “Outstanding Adventure”.

The toughest part of the training for the German astronaut was training with the space suit for an outboard mission: “The training underwater was very strenuous, both physically and mentally,” said Maurer. During the underwater training, the astronauts practice their work in weightlessness.

First European in a Russian space suit

According to Maurer, he will probably be the first European to disembark from the ISS wearing a Russian spacesuit. For this he learned for a long time in Russia in this space suit. He had also learned Russian, but was “not quite as fit” as in English. The Russian colleagues are “very helpful,” and if necessary an interpreter is available on earth, he said.

In this space suit, I will hopefully get out with a Russian cosmonaut and put the new European robotic arm, which recently arrived on the ISS, into operation “.

Around 100 experiments in weightlessness

During his time in space, Maurer and the other astronauts will carry out around a hundred experiments in weightlessness, including 36 from universities and industry in Germany. This includes, among other things, a muscle building suit, which is supposed to additionally stimulate the muscles through electrical impulses.

“Muscle and bone loss occur extremely quickly under gravity,” emphasized the head of the German Space Agency, Walther Pelzer. During the experiments he had a “schedule like in school,” said Maurer. This dictates to him when he should carry out which experiment.

However, there are also clear priorities for living and working in orbit. “The life of the astronauts is right at the forefront,” emphasized the materials scientist who has a PhD and has been part of the ESA astronaut corps since 2015. Then comes the protection of the space station, only in third place followed the experiments.

When asked how good the chances are for Maurer of going to the moon in the future, ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher said that this was far from being decided. ESA is in the process of preparing a European astronaut for the moon. “Matthias is a fantastic candidate for this.”

Half a year on the ISS

In addition to Maurer, NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn and NASA astronaut Kayla Barron will fly to the ISS. After six months in weightlessness, Maurer is scheduled to return to Earth in April. “I’ll be back,” he promised in Cologne.

Uwe Gradwohl, SWR: “Matthias Maurer has a great passion for experimentation”

tagesschau24 11:00 a.m., 9.9.2021

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