Born 3 August 1951 in Überlingen, Germany, but considers Aachen to be his hometown. Married to Heike Walpot. He has seven children. Recreational interests include skiing, scuba diving and flying. He also enjoys reading, and being a handyman.
He spent 1968/69 in the US as an American Field Service (AFS) exchange student and graduated from Lewis Central High School, Council Bluffs, Iowa. In 1970 he graduated from Hansa Gymnasium, a secondary school emphasizing mathematics and science at Cologne, Germany. In 1979 he received a Diploma in Physics (Master of Physics) from the University of Aachen, Germany.
Member of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (German Physical Society) and of the AFS - Interkulturelle Begegnungen (American Field Service Germany).
Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Service Cross 1st Class, Federal Republic of Germany). Russian Medal of Friendship.
From 1970-72, he served as a paratrooper with the Federal Armed Forces. He left with the rank of second lieutenant, and after several reserve trainings, he was appointed reserve lieutenant in 1980. From 1979-86 he worked as an experimental Solid State Physicist at the Rheinisch Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen (University of Aachen) and performed research in the field of electronic transport properties and optical properties of semiconductors. From 1986-88 he was a Specialist in non-destructive testing methodology in the research and development department of the company “Institut Dr. Förster Gmbh & Co. KG” in Reutlingen, Germany.
From 1988 to 1990 he performed Basic Astronaut Training at the German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR). This training included academic education and microgravity experience on approximately 1300 parabulas on KC-135. He became a certified research diver and holds a Private Pilot’s license, including instrument rating and aerobatics.
In 1990 he was assigned payload specialist for the D-2 Mission and started Payload Training in Cologne, Germany and at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This second German Spacelab mission successfully took place from 26 April to 6 May 1993 (STS-55 Columbia).
In August 1995 he went to the Yuri A. Gagarin Training Center (Moscow) to train for the German-Russian MIR‘97 Mission as a backup. During the mission (10 February to 2 March 1997) he served as Crew Interface Coordinator responsible for ground-to-air communications. Between June 1997 and January 1998, he received additional training and certification as 2nd board engineer for the Russian Space Station MIR.
In 1998 he joined the European Astronaut Corps of the European Space Agency.
In August 1998, ESA sent him to the Johnson Space Center for training as a Mission Specialist with the NASA Astronaut Class of ’98. In addition to his training he was also assigned to the CAPCOM Branch of the Astronaut Office, conducting voice communication to the International Space Station, he worked as lead ISS CAPCOM and as ISS Instructor CAPCOM.
In July 2006 Hans Schlegel was assigned to the STS-122 mission that delivered the European Space Agency’s Columbus Laboratory to the International Space Station.
From 26 April to 6 May 1993, Schlegel served as Payload Specialist on STS-55 aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. Nearly 90 experiments were conducted during the German Spacelab D-2 mission to investigate life sciences, material sciences, physics, robotics, astronomy, and the Earth and its atmosphere.
His second spaceflight the STS-122 mission launched on 7 February 2008 aboard Atlantis and ended on 20 February 2008. The mission highlight was the delivery and installation of the Columbus Module, the major contributing element of the European Space Agency to the International Space Station. Hans Schlegel performed one spacewalk (Extravehicular Activity-EVA) of nearly 7 hours to help prepare the Columbus laboratory for its scientific work, and to replace an expended nitrogen tank on the Station’s P-1 Truss. STS-122 mission was also a crew replacement mission, delivering ESA astronaut Léopold Eyharts to the ISS.
Hans Schlegel is performing post-flight activities.