December 6, 2021

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Ready to launch Crew 3 with the 600th astronaut, a German from the European Space Agency

The 600th astronaut will be German. He is Matthias Maurer, of the European Space Agency (ESA), selected in 2015, and has been an official astronaut since 2018. Now Matthias is part of the same team of European astronauts, which also includes Luca Parmitano and Samantha Cristoforetti. AstroSamantha who, after Maurer, will be the next European astronaut to be sent to the International Space Station (ISS), and in April or May 2022 will take over the role of commander there. Maurer is ready to sit in one of four chairs in the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which the Falcon 9 rocket will have to send into orbit with a night launch (in Italy it will be 3.03, 21.30 in Florida), from Cape Canaveral’s historic 39a slope. Born in Saarland, Maurer is a Research Astronaut: Graduated in Technology and Materials Science. He holds a PhD in Materials Science Engineering from the Technical University of Aachen, and a Master’s degree in Economics for Engineers from the Open University of Hagen.

For four years he worked for an international medical company, researching new materials for equipment, such as blood filters used in hemodialysis. “My training and research experience” – said the junior ESA astronaut, who will also take part in some “outside walks” – “prepare me for a mission at the space station –” In fact, many of these topics are actually areas of research which we have at the station. We have a lot of work to do in materials science, we have many furnaces for these experiments, but we also work in life sciences. We can bring in a lot of specialized knowledge to conduct many of these experiments.” In addition to the German, to form the crew of “Crew 3” (the third operator in NASA-Space X), there will be three American astronauts, veteran of previous shuttle missions, Tom Marshburn, Then three “newbies” to the first spaceflight: plus Maurer, spacecraft commander, Raja Chari, and former underwater researcher Kayla Barron, with a standard approach to her deep blue dive, now ready to dive into the absolute blackness of the universe. Number 600, on The basis of NASA statistics, it includes all spaceflights and cosmonauts of all nationalities who have exceeded an altitude of 80 km, since the first, the first orbiter of the Russian Yuryg Gagarin in 1961. It thus also includes “ballistic jumps” such as those carried out recently with Blue Origins rockets and Virgin Galactic: “I am fortunate to represent such an important figure in the history of astronauts” – says Matthias – “But my goal is still to go to space, and I am not looking forward. This number may seem very high, but it ends up being an average of 10 astronauts per year.

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This extraordinary adventure is still at the beginning, and from now, with the beginning of the era of commercial flights, the number is expected to increase, especially with suborbital flights.” There are 20 people who have crossed the “Kerman Line” and traveled to space since the beginning of 2021: 17 of them “Space travelers”, and therefore not professionals, and 3 professional cosmonauts. The last Russian director and actress who entered orbit on the International Space Station for 10 days, guided by the great veteran Anton Skaplerov, on the fourth flight aboard the Soyuz ship. With “Crew 3 “, the mission of all professional astronauts begins: they will stay six months on the International Space Station, and will return as soon as they are replaced, at the end of April, by the AstroSamantha mission. On the other hand, the Crew 2, in orbit since last April, returned to Earth with Crew Dragon two days ago. With the usual landing in the Atlantic Ocean, a short distance from the coast of Florida.Now, the change of crew is ready and the Elon Musk rocket is ready for his new mission with the astronauts.