Science & Exploration


In brief

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer is back in Europe after 177 days in space. Watch the first press conference following his Cosmic Kiss mission at 11:45 CEST (10:45 BST) 11 May live on ESA Web TV.


Matthias was launched to the International Space Station on 11 November 2021 in Crew Dragon Endurance as a member of Crew-3. His arrival on Station marked the start of Cosmic Kiss, the German astronaut’s first mission in space.

Throwing a Cosmic Kiss – Matthias Maurer’s journey to the International Space Station

While in orbit, Matthias supported over 35 European and many more international experiments. These traversed all areas of science and innovation as researchers drew on the Station’s unique microgravity environment to study phenomena and test technology.

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer waves and gives the thumbs up aboard SpaceX recovery boat Shannon

Matthias returned with his Crew-3 colleagues, NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron, last week – splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa, Florida, at 05:43 BST (06:43 CEST) on 6 May.

After initial medical checks on the recovery boat, he was helicoptered to shore where a plane was waiting to bring him back to Cologne, Germany.

Matthias returns to Cologne

Matthias arrived in Europe in the early hours of 7 May, where he was greeted by family, friends, colleagues, media and special guests in the military area of Cologne-Bonn airport. He will spend the next weeks participating in debriefings, contributing samples for scientific studies and adapting to Earth’s gravity at ESA’s European Astronaut Centre (EAC) and the German Aerospace Centre’s (DLR) ‘Envihab’ facility.

For more about Matthias and his Cosmic Kiss mission, visit the ESA mission page.

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