NewsMatthias Maurer is leaving for the ISS tonight -...

Matthias Maurer is leaving for the ISS tonight – What you need to know about the mission

The German astronaut Matthias Maurer takes off for the International Space Station (ISS) tonight. What you need to know about the launch and the “Cosmic Kiss” mission.

  • Matthias Maurer * (Esa) and three astronauts from NASA * will start into space tonight.
  • The “Crew Dragon” space capsule * was built by the private space company SpaceX *, owned by Elon Musk *.
  • The flight to the ISS * has been postponed several times – and will now take place on November 11 at 03.03 a.m. (CET).
  • You will receive all important news from space travel * with the free FR newsletter * directly in your mailbox.

Frankfurt / Cape Canaveral – Very early on Thursday (11.11.2021) German time it should finally be that time. Then Matthias Maurer from the European Space Agency (Esa), Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron (all NASA) fly to the International Space Station.

They had to wait a long time for this day, originally their flight was planned for October 31st. The start of the “Crew Dragon” capsule had been postponed several times due to weather conditions, and once a “minor medical matter” caused a delay. According to NASA, a crew member was affected, but it was neither a medical emergency nor was there a connection to the coronavirus *.

German astronaut Matthias Maurer: Over 100 experiments planned on the ISS

The start was recently delayed due to the return of Crew-2, who were still on the space station, but whose space capsule was allowed to remain in space for a maximum of 210 days and was approaching this end date. At first it was unclear how long NASA and SpaceX would need between landing and take-off. The return of Crew-2 had priority, said NASA.

Esa-Astronaut Matthias Maurer


Esa astronaut Matthias Maurer flies into space in November. (Archive photo)

The so-called Crew-3 with the SpaceX capsule “Crew Dragon” is scheduled to take off in the direction of the ISS on Wednesday evening at the earliest. In Germany, at the time of the planned launch of the “Falcon 9” rocket, it is already 3:03 am.

Matthias Maurer flies to the ISS: will the weather play along before the rocket launch?

It is now again important whether the weather in Florida cooperates – a further shift is possible at any time. “The weather in November can be particularly challenging,” said NASA manager Steve Stich during one of the numerous postponements of the start date.

The Crew-3’s journey is set to begin at the historic launch site 39A in the Kennedy Space Center. The “Apollo” missions to the moon have already started there, and later the space shuttles. SpaceX has now rented the launch site, and the “Falcon 9” rockets from the private space company are now taking off from here. About 22 hours after take-off, Matthias Maurer and the team should dock with the ISS. Maurer calls his mission “Cosmic Kiss”.

activity Time in CET
Launch of the Falcon 9 rocket with Matthias Maurer 11.11.2021, 3.03 a.m.
Crew Dragon capsule with docking maneuvers on the ISS November 12, 2021, 1.10 a.m.
The hatch between the Crew Dragon capsule and the ISS opens November 12, 2021, 2.45 a.m.
Welcome ceremony on board the ISS November 12, 2021, 3.20 a.m.
Source: NASA

But what is Maurer’s goal anyway? At an altitude of around 400 kilometers, the German astronaut will carry out over 100 experiments on the space station and will probably also complete an outdoor assignment to put the European robotic arm into operation. As announced by the German Aerospace Center, in addition to experiments in the field of biomedicine, new technologies and projects for artificial intelligence will also be involved. Similar tasks await the three NASA astronauts inside.

ISS flight with SpaceX: Matthias Maurer has to be patient for a long time

If the flight goes as planned, Matthias Maurer, born in Sankt Wendel in Saarland, will be the fourth German astronaut on the ISS and the twelfth in space. Alexander Gerst was last on board the ISS, for six months in 2014 and 2018. Before his trip, Maurer had to go through tough training. This included training in Russian and American spacesuits, but also medical care such as pulling teeth was on the program.

Because on the ISS, astronauts are left to their own devices. “If you lose contact with the station, then you are space junk,” said Maurer at a press conference. Also on board the space station there are regular exercises from running, cycling and strength training to prevent muscle breakdown in weightlessness. (lrg) * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.

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