ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen set to return to space

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Science & Exploration

24/03/2022
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In brief

Danish ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen has been assigned a long-duration mission to the International Space Station and is expected to fly as the pilot of a Crew Dragon spacecraft in mid 2023 or early 2024.

In-depth

ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen

The assignment was announced by ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher during the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science’s national space conference in Denmark today.

It will be the first long-duration mission for Andreas, who previously flew to the Station in 2015 for a 10-day mission known as Iriss. It is also the first time an international partner astronaut has been assigned to the role of pilot for a NASA SpaceX mission.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce the assignment of ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen to a long-duration spaceflight and to let you know he is in training to become the first non-US astronaut to pilot a Crew Dragon spacecraft,” says Josef.

Andreas guides astronauts through a spacewalk from NASA’s Johnson Space Center

“Since his first flight in 2015, Andreas has been an invaluable member of the ESA astronaut team as the link between European astronauts and NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas. We regularly hear him guide astronauts through their spacewalks by radio from mission control and I look forward to hearing his voice once again via radio from space.

“His assignment as pilot is a sign of the deepening relationship between ESA and NASA as we build our capabilities in low-Earth orbit and explore even farther into space.”

The first Dane in orbit

Danish flag in space

Andreas is the first Danish citizen to fly to space and his Iriss mission was action-packed. While most astronauts are given a week to acclimatise to their new environment, Andreas worked an extra 90 minutes every day to support more than 20 ESA experiments focused on new ways of operating and testing technology.

These included testing a water-cleaning membrane that mimics nature, hands-free goggles to help with complex tasks and a tight-fitting suit to alleviate back pain common in astronauts. He also remotely controlled three different rovers on Earth to prepare for missions farther away in our Solar System and filmed lightning phenomena known as Blue Jets and Red Sprites as a precursor to the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor ASIM, installed in 2018.

Flying on a Dragon

ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen and NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli train in camera skills

Andreas is assigned as the backup pilot for Crew-6 and is expected fulfil this role on a Crew Dragon spacecraft as a member of Crew-7. This crew includes NASA astronaut and first-time space flyer Jasmin Moghbeli, who was born in Bad Nauheim, Germany.

“I have been looking forward to this ever since 12 September 2015, when I landed from my first mission, Andreas says.

“The International Space Station is a unique laboratory, where we can conduct ground-breaking research and technology development, and I can’t wait to get back there.

“Space exploration is about increasing our knowledge, expanding our horizons, and creating the world that we want to inhabit in the future. And there is nothing more exciting than that.”

Andreas is the next ESA astronaut to fly after ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti who is scheduled to be launched as part of Crew-4 in April 2022.

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