ESA astronauts Matthias Maurer and Thomas Pesquet train for their upcoming missions to the International Space Station at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA.
A refresher for Thomas and a first for Matthias, the pair are pictured here during emergency vehicle familiarisation training in the International Space Station mockup.
Due to the current situation with COVID-19, all personnel are required to adhere to special safety precautions while training. These include wearing a mask – as seen in the image.
Thomas has been assigned to the second operational flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, launching in spring 2021 from Cape Canaveral, USA, to the International Space Station. He will be the first European to fly on a Crew Dragon alongside NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.
Thomas’ second mission will be called Alpha. This is after Alpha Centauri, the closest stellar system to Earth, following the French tradition to name space missions after stars or constellations. Watch Thomas’ explanation of the name here.
Meanwhile, Matthias is training for his first Space Station mission. Details of that mission are yet to be established, but for now Matthias is training as the backup for Thomas. As the next two ESA astronauts in line for flights, the pair are working to ensure they fully trained and ready.
Matthias will continue his training in Houston over the next weeks and months and is sharing his experience with everyone. Watch Matthias during spacewalk training here (also available in German and Spanish).
Wondering how training differs after a trip to space? The guys discuss in the first of a series of Astro Chats.