SpaceUP Cologne

On 20 and 21 March 2015 the first SpaceUP Cologne took place. In a magnificient setting The European Astronaut Centre in Cologne

I was only able to attend the first interesting day. The most difficult part is which talk to choose.

Great to see so many friends and new people with the same interest. That´s one of the strong points of SpaceUP´s. There are many to choose from, even in Europe. See for furhter info and events



TDLR 2015

Once every 2 year the German Aerospace Day (TDLR) takes place. 2 years ago I visited it for the first time, just weeks before my Zero G flight. See for my blogpost of TDLR 2013

It took place on 20 September in Cologne, near the airport. This time I tried to see different things than last time. A visit to the Rosetta Lander Control Center of DLR was high on my wish list. You can read more about it at:

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There were also scientists who explained the audience about the boldest mission of ESA and there were also maquettes of the Lander and Comet 67P.

Next we visited the training hall at EAC:

The last time we only got to see the Colombus training module and this time we saw the rest.

Hereafter we went to the airstrip where a couple of planes are on display. The waiting line for the new Airbus of Emirates was too long. Maybe next time. It’s great to wander around and see the new Zero G airplane on display.


We were just in time back at the stage to see a lot of astronauts on stage. Great talks by a couple of them like Andreas Mogensen who had just returned from a short stay at the ISS.



A new Zero G aircraft 

Air Zero G has retired their old plane (almost 40 years old) and replaced it with an Airbus A320, the former plane  

 of Angela Merkel. They’ve tested it and it’s ready for the first scientific flights. The first commercial flight will be in June. A lot of familiar faces on this picture. 

Welcome home Alexander Gerst event in Bonn

The DLR ( organised a Welcome Home Alexander Gerst event in Bonn on 8 December in die Bundeskunsthalle. Some of the #CallAlex participants were also present. There was live music and a lot of German astronauts. And Alexander Gerst of course. Great to see him in such a good shape after the turbulent landing in Kazahkstan.

Afterwards we were able to see the Outer Space exhibition. The Mercury capsule named Liberty Bell7 was the highlight of the exposition. It was Launched in 1961. After a flight of 15 minutes it splashed down in the ocean and only in 1999 they were able to recover the capsule. The hooks which were used in an attempt to recover the capsule by helicopter in 1961 were stil there. More on Liberty Bell7 here:






In the news

I only post things that are realy remarkable in my opinion or things I experienced or heard first hand.

At this moment I follow a Coursera course titled “Origins – Formation of the Universe, Solar System, Earth and Life”. Highly recommended. They use the findings in the univere to explain life on Earth and vice versa. What triggered life on Earth and may lead to life forms on other planets outside the Solar System.

The Rosetta mission of ESA has been in the news for weeks now. And fully justified of course.
The following first findings got my attention.

Organic molecules are found on the comet. This isn’t a great surprise because organic molecules have been found by comet Halley (Giotto in 1986) and by Comet Wild 2 (Stardust 2004). Organic molecules can be the building blocks of life. “Scientists still aren’t sure what kind of organics — carbon-containing molecules that are the building blocks of life on Earth — were found.” (see

Exciting weeks for science!

#CallAlex at the EAC in Cologne

I was one of the 40 lucky ones who was invited to the CallAlex event at the EAC in Cologne. I liked the fact that there were a lot of new spacefans who never went to such an event.

This is the welcome speech by Andreas Schepers and Jules Grandsire, communication officers at ESA.


First we visited the Envihab. Altought it was the second time I visited the Envihab it still impresses me. A pratical but very beautiful building. We saw the centrifuge. They use it mainly for research purposes. They were performing tests on it at that moment.


Another large study is the bedrest study. Persons who are physicologically tested beforehand, stay for 60 or 90 days in a bed. The bed is tilted to stimulate weightlesness environment. A lot of blood goes to the head. They even shower lying down.


I wouldn’t and couldn’t do it frankly.
There’s also a room with a lot of special gym equipment. It’s used for research but also for tests on astronauts before and after their long term stay on the ISS. Alexander Gerst will be the first astronaut who will go straight from Kazahkstan to Cologne (instead first to the US).
More on Envihab here:”>hab/en/desktopdefault.aspx

Frank de Winne, Belgian astronaut and head of the EAC, talked about his stay on the ISS and answered many questions from the audience.


11 people were able to ask a question to Alexander on the ISS. Alex looked really comfortable and happy on the screen.


You may find the replay of this at:

Afterwards we went on a tour to Eurocom and the Columbus and ATV module in the training center.

Our tour leader was Lionel Ferra, astronaut instructor (especially on ATV) and Eurocom. Being an Eurocom is really interesting. They speak with astronauts and help astronauts with performing science on the Columbus Module. They’re either at EAC or at Col-CC (near Munich).


There was a nice mockup of the Columbus Module at the Eurocom desk:


You may find lots of signed photos of crew trainings on the walls of the EAC. Nice touch.


The fifth and last ATV is at this moment in space, docked at the ISS. This means that the training in the ATV module at EAC has stopped. It’s a 1:1 setup. Impressive to see what they all have to do in the ATV.