About the German astronaut: Reinhold Ewald

On the 10th February 1997, Reinhold Ewald had his debut spaceflight experience, jetting off into space aboard the Soyuz TM-25 spacecraft. His journey began in 1990, when he was selected to join other German astronauts on the national astronaut team. Not only was this a momentous occasion for Reinhold, but for Germany too. The day prior, West and East Germany reunified under one banner and the German astronaut team became representative of the now-single nation.

Ørsted is delighted to have worked with Reinhold recently to produce a guided commentary for our virtual space mission; Space Safari. Join Reinhold on your very own mission to space as he shares his experiences and memories of his time in space. From this unique vantage point over 100 kilometres above sea level, you’ll see your home like never before and just perhaps experience one of the rarest sensations in the universe; the Overview Effect. By sharing his experiences with us, he hopes to convey the message that all humans have a shared responsibility in looking after the planet and preserving it for future generations to inherit.

Whether you have chosen Reinhold to be your co-astronaut during your space mission or are interested in the path he took to becoming an astronaut, you can learn more about Reinhold Ewald below.

How did Reinhold Ewald become an astronaut?

Reinhold was selected to join the five-person German national astronaut team in 1990. He initially trained for the Mir ‘92 mission at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Moscow, serving as the backup for the German astronaut Klaus-Dietrich Flade. Although he didn’t travel to space aboard the Soyuz TM-14, he was the Crew Interface Coordinator for the mission.

His next spaceflight opportunity came in 1995 when he was selected for the Mir ‘97 mission. Reinhold once more travelled to Star City to begin his training. His extensive training programme and specific fitness regime prepared him physically and mentally for spaceflight, along with regular simulations of the cosmonaut experience and fluency in Russian language.

Reinhold’s experience in space

Reinhold embarked on his first and only spaceflight on the 10th February 1997, travelling aboard the Soyuz TM-25 spacecraft. Once the crew members had reached the Mir space station, they stayed there to carry out a range of experiments designed to test the effects of space travels on the human body.

For Reinhold, the experience would take a turn when a fire sprang aboard the station on the 23rd February. Luckily, no crew members were injured during this incident and they were able to return safely to the Kazakh steppe near Karaganda on the 2nd March.

Reinhold returned to Star City following the Mir ‘97 mission, staying there for several weeks whilst extensive tests were carried out on him. Follow-up examinations of his body were conducted and the data were compared to inflight data to determine the influence of weightlessness on the human body. His contributions to biomedical science and our understanding of space cannot be understated, and the entire community will be forever in his debt.

Reinhold’s experience of the Overview Effect

Seeing Earth from the Mir space station for the first time, Reinhold experienced something which many other astronauts have reportedly experienced during their time in space: the “Overview Effect”.

This sensation is incredibly rare, and the result of seeing our home suspended in space. The “Overview Effect” is a cognitive shift; an overwhelming realisation that all humans need to look past their differences and acknowledge their shared responsibility for all life on Earth. Together, Reinhold and Ørsted want to make space travel a reality for all, in the hopes that by even experiencing a fraction of the Overview Effect, you too will come to share our desire to protect planet Earth and the life it supports.

To join Reinhold Ewald on a journey into space and experience our home from a once in a lifetime perspective, board your virtual spacecraft and get ready to see planet Earth like never before. 3… 2… 1… liftoff!

In total, Reinhold spent 19 days 16 hours and 34 minutes in space.

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