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From the Space Race to joint training programmes: European astronauts in China and Russia

From the Space Race to joint training programmes for astronauts – once a field dominated by international competition, cooperation in space travel is now flourishing. An Italian female astronaut and a German male astronaut are currently completing survival training in Yantai, China. Meanwhile, two German women are training to be astronauts in Russia.

European-Chinese survival training

Matthias Maurer from Germany and Samantha Cristoforetti from Italy are currently undergoing survival training together with 16 astronauts from the China National Space Administration in what is a unique form of cooperation. As guests of the astronaut sea survival training base in Yantai, China, they are learning on the high seas about how to exit a space capsule in the event of landing on water. The two Europeans are staying in the region for a total of ten days and are the first non-Chinese astronauts to undergo this training.

German astronaut Matthias Maurer at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne

German astronaut Matthias Maurer at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne
© ESA / S. Grothues

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German astronaut Matthias Maurer at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne

German astronaut Matthias Maurer at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne

German astronaut Matthias Maurer at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne

Samantha Cristoforetti has already spent six months at the ISS space station. Matthias Maurer has yet to go on his first mission. Alongside training in China, he will be prepared for his flight into space at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne.

Joint flights into space in the future

This joint training is an example of the good cooperation between China and Europe in this area. Both sides benefit from the exchange and have an opportunity to learn more about each other’s training methods and progress in space travel. Even joint flights into space will be conceivable in the future, possibly to one of China’s space stations.

First German female astronaut to receive training in Russia

There is good cooperation not only with China, but also with Russia in the field of space travel. Two German women are currently training to be astronauts in a suburb of Moscow. More than 400 women applied for the coveted training positions. Meteorologist Insa Thiele-Eich and fighter pilot Nicola Baumann made the cut. If the project goes according to plan, one of them will be the first female German astronaut in space in 2020.

Find out more:

Matthias Maurer

Samantha Cristoforetti


Last updated 23.08.2017

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