Reinhold Ewald studied physics at the University of Cologne. He completed his studies in 1983 and received his doctorate in 1986. During his work as a research associate at the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; DFG) from 1983 to 1987, Ewald already took a first step towards the stars. His research focused on the observation and analysis of the dynamics of interstellar molecular clouds, which are thought to be the birthplace of new stars.
After completing his doctorate, Ewald moved to the German Aviation and Spaceflight Research and Development Centre (Deutsche Forschungs- und Versuchsanstalt für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DFVLR), a precursor of the present-day DLR, as a research associate. Still fascinated by space, he worked on several projects, eventually becoming the Coordinator of Spaceflight at DLR within the Planning Department.
He was appointed to the astronaut team in 1990 and was also involved in the preparations for the Spacelab D-2 mission in 1993, where his compatriot Ulrich Walter was a member of the crew. On 10 February 1997, Reinhold Ewald launched into space as a scientific cosmonaut and spent 18 days on the Russian space station Mir as part of the second German-Russian mission, MIR ’97. He is currently an advisor to the ESA Director General’s Head of Cabinet at ESA headquarters in Paris.