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Ulf Merbold

first non-American to fly on the Space Shuttle

Ulf Merbold

Biographical Data

Born June 20, 1941, in Greiz, Germany

Married Birgit Reister


Stuttgart University, physics, 1968
Doctorate in science, 1976

Early Career

Studied state and low temperature physics at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, Stuttgart.

Spaceflight Career

1977, pre-selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) as a Payload Specialist for the first flight of the European-built Spacelab Laboratory (Spacelab 1).
1978, nominated as one of the three Payload Specialists for the mission.
1982, selected for flight.

November 28 - December 8, 1983, became the first non-American to fly on the Space Shuttle, during the STS-9 mission. The primary objective of the mission was the verification of Spacelab in orbit and the execution of 72 highly sophisticated scientific experiments.

1984, back-up Payload Specialist and Crew Interface Coordinator for the Space Shuttle Spacelab German D-1 mission.

1986, transferred to the European Space Research and Technology Center (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, to support ESA in the planning of Columbus, the European laboratory for the International Space Station.

1987, appointed head of the German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR) Astronaut Office, in which capacity he led the German astronauts and supported the preparation of the D2 mission.

December 1988, nominated ESA Payload Specialist candidate for the International Microgravity Laboratory mission (IML-1) on the Space Shuttle.

January 22-31, 1992, flew as Payload Specialist aboard STS-42.

April 26 - May 6, 1993, Science Coordinator at the Mission Control Center in Germany during the second German D2 mission.

October 3 - November 4, 1994, became the first ESA astronaut to fly on the Russian Space Station Mir.

Since the end of 1999, he has been responsible for the Utilization Promotion Management in the Microgravity Promotion Division of the ESA Directorate of Manned Spaceflight and Microgravity at ESTEC.

Honors and Awards

First Class Order of the Federal Republic of Germany
Order of Merit of the States of Baden-Württemberg and Nordrhein-Westfalen
Haley Space Flight Award, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
USSR Pilot-Cosmonaut V.M. Komarov Diploma, International Aeronautical Federation
distinction for scientific achievement in Air and Space Medicine, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrtmedizin
Flight Achievement Award, American Astronautical Society (1983)
Order of Friendship, Russian Federation (1995)

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This page was last updated on 06/19/2018.