ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer and his NASA crew mates Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron are all smiles as they arrive at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA on 26 October 2021.
Collectively, the astronauts make up Crew-3 and will travel to the International Space Station on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft “Endurance”. The first launch opportunity for Crew-3 is 07:21 CET (06:21 GMT, 02:21 EDT) Sunday 31 October 2021, with a backup date of 3 November.
The Dragon will dock with the Space Station 22 hours after launch, allowing for a short overlap with the Crew-2 members who are due to depart the Station in the coming week.
With both Matthias and ESA astronaut and current Space Station Commander Thomas Pesquet on board, Europe will have two astronauts resident in space – a rare occurrence.
The name of Matthias’s mission is “Cosmic Kiss”. This is Matthias’s first mission, and he will be the 600th human to fly to space.
Once in orbit, Matthias will spend around six months living and working in microgravity as he supports more than 35 European experiments and numerous international experiments on board.
Matthias is also certified to perform Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) in both the Russian Orlan and American EMU spacesuits. He is expected to perform a Russian spacewalk during his mission as part of initial operations for the European Robotic Arm (ERA) that was launched to the Station in July 2021.
Visit the Cosmic Kiss mission page for more information about Matthias’s mission.