Astronaut Frank de Winne presents Flight Director Alexander Nitsch and Mission Director Jean-Christophe Grenouilleau (from left to right) a signed memento
After their sojourn on the International Space Station between May and December 2009, the astronauts Frank de Winne, Bob Thirsk und Roman Romanenko visited the Columbus Control Center in Oberpfaffenhofen on 26th April 2010, which, as one of the five main control centers, had accompanied and supported their successful mission. They were greeted by their astronaut colleagues, Reinhold Ewald, and Friedrich Exter from DLR, as well as by the Flight Control Team that had worked closely with them in those months.
After a short stand-up reception, during which the astronauts visibly enjoyed being in the centre of "their" control team, de Winne, Thirsk and Romanenko showed their OasISS mission video and commented on the results and their research work during their stay in space. They furthermore answered the numerous questions posed by the audience and provided Flight Director Alexander Nitsch and Mission Director Jean-Christophe Grenouilleau, the leading responsibles for their mission, a present of a signed picture. The Belgian, Canadian and Russian astronauts then visited the main control room where they were greeted by Flight Director Thomas Uhlig. Here, they particularly thanked Bernie Kerr, Sergi Ginebrera, Guillaume Girard, Alfredo Boccanera and Katja Leuoth, who had supported their flight as representatives of the different expert groups, and presented them with a plaque of the mission emblem as a symbol of their gratitude. Katja Leuoth was subsequently particularly distinguished. She was chosen to hang up the plaque in the Oberpfaffenhofen control room, thereby receiving applause from both the team and the three astronauts - such a ceremonial action is entrusted each time to a member of the flight control team who has especially distinguished themselves.
Katja Leuoth und Tom Uhlig receiving the official mission emblem from the astronauts
The visit of Frank de Winne, Bob Thirsk und Roman Romanenko to Oberpfaffenhofen was in culmination of a co-operation lasting several months between the control center and the astronauts, which was highlighted by the first-time assumption of command of the ISS by a European.
Frank de Winne, Bernie Kerr, Roman Romanenko und Bob Thirsk (from left to right) bodily assisting Katja Leuoth to hang up the mission emblem in the control room at Oberpfaffenhofen