German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer has been officially assigned his first flight to the International Space Station and he may now reveal the name of his mission: Cosmic Kiss.
Matthias is scheduled to launch to the Space Station with NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Crew Programme.
Matthias officially joined ESA’s Astronaut Corps in 2015 and is the only ESA astronaut yet to fly to space. Originally from the southwest German state of Saarland, Matthias has studied in four different countries, gained a doctorate in materials science engineering and achieved national recognition for outstanding research.
Since joining ESA as an astronaut, he has been busy completing astronaut training in Europe and the US, taking part in ESA and NASA analogue studies underground and underwater and participating in sea survival training off the coast of China. He is currently serving as backup crew to fellow ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
Alongside his official assignment, Matthias Maurer also revealed the name of his first space mission: Cosmic Kiss. He describes this carefully selected mission name as a ‘declaration of love for space’.
Matthias sports his mission patch on his left arm in this image. The patch features several cosmic elements including Earth, the Moon and the Pleiades star cluster. It also depicts Mars, one of ESA’s three key destinations for exploration over the next 10 years, as a small red dot beckoning in the distance. However, its most prominent feature is a simplified, almost heart-like International Space Station, connected through a human heartbeat that stretches from Earth to the Moon. Read more about the mission patch design and rationale here.
While this is the first mission for the German ESA astronaut, it may also provide a rare opportunity for two European astronauts to meet in space. ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will be nearing the end of his six-month Alpha mission by the time Matthias is scheduled to arrive for his six-month mission. Both astronauts will carry out science and operations in space on behalf of researchers and international partners worldwide.