About the author

Tom Uhlig

As a child, Thomas Uhlig had the dream of becoming an astronaut, which he almost lost sight of while studying physics: he received a doctorate in the field of nano-cosmos and operation of electron microscopes for small magnetic particles. But after a period of research at Argonne National Laboratory, his passion for space caught up with him again .

In 2005, he moved to the German Aerospace Center, where he first worked as a planner, then as Operations Coordinator and finally as Columbus flight director . A special highlight for him was being flight controller of 1E- Space Shuttle mission at the console – you could hardly get closer to being an astronaut! He now heads the training team at the Columbus Control Centre that introduces the new colleagues to their work in the control room and certifies them.

Public relations is a particular concern for him - he regrets that hardly anyone in Germany knows that one of the main control centers for the ISS is operated in Oberpfaffenhofen. To remedy this, he has started blogging and is the author of a book on the 1E- mission and several other publications.

Posts from Tom Uhlig

Columbus Blog | 07. February 2014

Herzlichen Glückwunsch, Columbus!

Wow! Ab heute haben einige von uns sechs Jahre "auf Schicht" verbracht – denn Columbus fliegt jetzt genau sechs Jahre! Viele sind es nicht mehr, die von den ursprünglichen "Pionieren" übrig geblieben sind - eine Hand reicht zum Abzählen. Es waren spannende Tage, damals im Februar 2008. Die "1E-Mission“, also der erste "europäische“ Flug des Space Shuttles, der das Columbus-Labor zur Internationalen Raumstation ISS bringen sollte, hatte sich für Jahre immer wieder verschoben, insbesondere das Columbia-Unglück im Februar 2003 warf den ISS-Zeitplan weit zurück. Schließlich hatte sich der 6. Dezember 2007 als Starttermin "unseres Raumschiffs“ konsolidiert – aber nach bangen Minuten musste der Start ein paar Stunden vor dem "Lift-off“ wegen technischer Probleme abgebrochen werden. Doch so nahe war man dem Start der Mission noch nie gekommen! In den kommenden Tagen wurde nach langen Diskussionen dann der nächste Starttermin auf den 7. Februar 2008 gelegt. Das Team konnte noch einmal ruhige Weihnachtsferien geniessen – es sollten für die nächsten Jahre die letzten sein … read more

Columbus Blog | 07. February 2014

Congratulations Columbus!

Wow! Today, you could say some of us have spent six years of our lives 'in the spotlight' – because Columbus has now been in orbit for exactly six years! Not many of the original 'pioneers' remain – you can count them on the fingers of one hand. Those were some exciting days, back in February 2008. The 1E-mission – the first 'European' flight of the Space Shuttle that would take the Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station (ISS), had been repeatedly postponed for various reasons over the years; in particular, the Columbia tragedy in February 2003 pushed the ISS schedule back a long way. Finally, the launch of 'our spaceship' was set for 6 December 2007 – there were some tense minutes when, just a couple of hours before lift-off, the launch was cancelled for technical reasons. So near and yet so far from the start of the mission! In the days that followed, and after long discussions, the launch date was set for 7 February 2008. The team would be able to enjoy a quiet and relaxing Christmas holiday – the last one for some years to come… read more

Jan Wörner Blog | 01. March 2010 | 1 Comment

Drei Jahre Vorstandsvorsitzender des DLR - eine tägliche Herausforderung

Am 1. März 2007 habe ich das Amt des Vorsitzenden des Vorstands des DLR angetreten und damit einen persönlichen Berufswechsel ungeahnten, unerwarteten Ausmaßes durchgeführt. Drei von fünf Jahren des Vertrages sind nun vorbei. Es wird Zeit, so etwas wie eine persönliche Bilanz zu ziehen, um gleichzeitig erforderliche Entscheidungen und Entwicklungen der Zukunft vorzubereiten. read more

Jan Wörner Blog | 01. March 2010 | 1 Comment

Three years as Chairman of DLR – a challenge every day

On 1 March 2007, I assumed the post of Chairman of the Management Board of the German Aerospace Center, DLR, and in doing so, embarked upon a personal change in career of unimagined and unexpected magnitude. The first three of five years in this post are now behind me and it is time to do something akin to drawing up a personal balance sheet, to prepare myself for the decisions and developments required in the future. read more