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  Die Astronautin: First German woman in space

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Author Topic:   Die Astronautin: First German woman in space
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 38432
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-11-2016 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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'Die Astronautin': Private campaign seeks first German female astronaut

The search is on for Germany's 12th astronaut to fly into space.

More Germans, after Americans and Russians, have been launched into orbit than astronauts from any other country — a total of eleven since 1978. But from Sigmund Jähn to Alexander Gerst, all eleven of the space fliers have been men. Now a private effort is underway to find, train and fly the first German woman to the International Space Station by 2020.

Tonyq
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Posts: 182
From: UK
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 01-27-2017 07:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tonyq   Click Here to Email Tonyq     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Three months after my original article appeared, it is perhaps appropriate to provide an update on the progress of the ‘Die Astronautin’ project.

Of the 120 candidates who were invited to attend the major promotional event in Berlin in September 2016, 86 were called to attend the next stage of psychological tests, undertaken by the German space agency, DLR (Deutschen Zentrums fur Luft-und-Raumfahrt), on behalf of the promoters, HESpace. These tests were conducted over two days, in late October and early November, with the candidates attending on either one day, or the other.

In mid-November, 30 candidates (from the 86) were recalled to DLR, to participate in a further series of psychological tests, team-based activities and in-depth interviews. This phase was conducted in five groups of six candidates, with each group attending for two days. It is understood that these psychological tests, undertaken in these two phases, were based upon the criteria used by ESA during their last astronaut recruitment process, in 2009.

Many of these 30 candidates identified themselves in the German media, usually being featured in local TV or newspaper reports and this was actively encouraged by the promoters, HESpace, as it clearly uplifted the profile of the whole initiative, whilst others openly talked about their involvement on Social Media. A small proportion, maybe 7 or 8, have kept a lower profile, perhaps for personal or professional reasons, and remain unidentified. I don’t propose to identify the 22 or so, whose names are known to me, at this stage, as HESpace have never released their names officially.

Just before Christmas, DLR’s nominations for the final ten places were contacted by HESpace, with a view to them undertaking a full ESA-style astronaut candidate medical during January and February 2017. At this point, HESpace, and their supporting agencies, imposed a comprehensive lockdown on release any information which would enable the final ten candidates to be publicly identified.

Candidates who were part of the last 30, have been asked not disclose their status in relation to making, or not making, the final 10. This apparently includes not disclosing on Social Media, and not speaking to the media. The reason for this approach, is to protect any candidate, within the final 10, who undergoes the astronaut medical, but does not pass. For certain careers, such a setback, revealed in public, could create professional and career problems.

This embargo seems to be holding fairly well, from HESpace and the candidates' perspectives.

The next stage is scheduled for 1st March, when the final candidates, 10 minus X, (where X is the number who do not pass the medicals) will be revealed, at an event in Bremen. At this point, the mechanism to select the two finalists, is likely to be announced.

All that said, the announcement last week, that NASA and Boeing may be working on a deal which would see the Soyuz seats vacated by the Russian ISS crew reduction, filled by NASA astronauts, appears to create a challenge for the the Die Astronautin promoters to find a route to the ISS, within their planned pre-2020 timeframe.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 38432
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-01-2017 09:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Private pick for Germany's first woman in space includes second-gen astronaut

A private effort to recruit Germany's first woman to launch into space has narrowed its choice to six candidates, including a veteran astronaut's daughter.

"Die Astronautin" (Female Astronaut), which was launched by the aerospace recruitment agency HE Space in March 2016, announced the six finalists — including Insa Thiele-Eich, the daughter of German astronaut Gerhard Thiele — at an event in Bremen on Wednesday (March 1). From the six, HE Space plans to chose two women to begin training for a privately-funded flight aboard the International Space Station.

india-mike
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Posts: 51
From: Linnich, Northrine Westfalia, Germany
Registered: Jan 2012

posted 03-01-2017 09:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for india-mike   Click Here to Email india-mike     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The finalists of the initiative Die Astronautin were introduced to the public in the mock-up hall of the Airbus site in Bremen, Germany.

Claudia Kessler, CEO HE Space and founder of the initiative "Die Astronautin" summarized in her lecture the steps of the selection process. The training program is created by former astronaut trainers and is taught during the first period in modules. The modular training takes place in the first training phase in part-time.

The launch of the space flight is to take place not before 2020. At present no capsule for a spaceflight is chosen. Meetings will be held in the coming future with SpaceX and Boeing, but also with the Russian and the Chinese space agencies. According to Claudia Kessler, the launch costs will be in a range between 30 to 40 million Euros.

Herwig Renkwitz from the company VIVID Group, presented the crowdfunding campaign for the initiative "Die Astronautin". As a platform for the money collection campaign, they have chosen Startnext. Over 4000 campaigns have been successfully completed through this crowdfunding platform.

With the public presentation of the money collection there was also the kick-off at the same time. For the financing period from March 1 up to April 30, 2017 the target is 125,000 EUR for the first training session. This training section includes the training modules diving education, basic training, Russian language training, media competency.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 38432
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-19-2017 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Astronaut's daughter, pilot selected to train to be Germany's first woman in space

The daughter of a veteran astronaut and an experienced fighter pilot have been announced as the finalists in a privately-conducted search for Germany's first woman to fly into space.

Insa Thiele-Eich, a meteorologist and daughter of German astronaut Gerhard Thiele, and Nicola Baumann, a German united armed forces fighter pilot, were presented in Berlin on Wednesday (April 19) as the candidates for a privately-financed, ten-day flight to the International Space Station. In the course of their training over the next two years, one of the two women will be selected to launch to the orbiting laboratory, with the other serving as her backup.

Tonyq
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Posts: 182
From: UK
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 10-20-2017 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tonyq   Click Here to Email Tonyq     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been made aware of an Austrian woman, named Johanna Maislinger, who has suggested that she is the astronaut candidate of an upcoming German commercial spaceflight project. This is not the previously announced "Die Astronautin" project.

This new project is said to be funded by an individual, or organisation, based in Berlin, with support from a media partner. Nothing else is known about the timing, purpose, and objectives, of this alleged project.

Maislinger is an engineer, and commercial airline pilot, and is 31 years old. She expects to train for a Soyuz flight.

Despite extensive enquiries, across the global space community, it has not been possible to verify any of this claim independently. Space Adventures has declined several opportunities to comment on this matter.

Can anyone add anything which might corroborate, or otherwise add to this story?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 38432
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-20-2017 02:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Johanna Maislinger is part of Space for Humanity, a 501(c)(3) non-profit seeking to use private donations, sponsorships, and grant funding to select "diverse groups of individuals to receive all expenses paid voyages to the edge of space, and beyond." From SpaceNews:
Space for Humanity has not yet decided how it will fly the new astronauts. "We are vehicle agnostic as long as it's safe, reliable and somewhat economical," [space industry angel investor Dylan] Taylor said.

For example, Space for Humanity is considering purchasing rides for participants in World View Enterprises' high-altitude balloon and Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital vehicle because both will give "diverse participants a group experience," Taylor said.

Taylor and a group of donors he cannot yet name plan to provide Space for Humanity with initial funding of $10 million over 24 months. "Successful missions will help us raise additional funding," Taylor told SpaceNews.

Here is a Space For Humanity video released on Oct. 3 featuring Maislinger:

india-mike
Member

Posts: 51
From: Linnich, Northrine Westfalia, Germany
Registered: Jan 2012

posted 12-14-2017 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for india-mike   Click Here to Email india-mike     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to at least two German online news services, Nicola Baumann, one of two female candidates for the private initiative "Die Astronautin" resigned from the private astronaut training.

In the spring of 2017, Nicola Baumann and Insa Thiele-Eich were chosen for astronaut training for this private sponsored initiative. Both were the winners of a one-year selection process for a research mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in April, and since then have participated in astronaut training alongside their jobs.

"I want to continue to be an astronaut, but this way is just not right for me," said Baumann to the online service of German magazine the SPIEGEL. "The initiative and I do not go together, but fortunately there are many commercial and governmental alternatives, and since I've already made a selection and the training has gone very well so far, I'm optimistic that I'm on the right track into space."

"I got on well with all the candidates and am also friends with Insa Thiele-Eich, I see that very relaxed and very positive and keep the fingers crossed for everyone," said Baumann. Being the first did not matter to her. "I just want to go into space and that's big enough for at least two German women."

The aim of the initiative "The Astronaut" is to send the first German woman into space in 2020. Claudia Kessler, the initiative‘s founder of the private astronaut campaign is confident that this timetable can be met despite the departure of Baumann. "We had four more women in the final selection, one of them will move up."

"That came as a surprise," said Claudia Kessler, on Thursday at the German Press Agency in Bremen. The resignation of Baumann is not a setback. "The first six months were meant as a kind of probationary period."

A selection committee has already met, the new candidate is expected to be presented in January.

That her follower is behind Insa Thiele-Eich, who has been through the training since April, will not be a problem, said Kessler. "She will be able to catch up well, the two candidates didn‘t make so much training this year."

In recent months Baumann and Thiele-Eich have already completed a parabolic flight in Russia to prepare for weightlessness. The next parabolic flights are scheduled for March in France. In addition, survival training, flight training and robotics are among the training programs. For the training and the flight into space the initiative must collect approximately 50 million euro. "We are making progress," said Kessler. "A lot of the money is still missing."

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