22. September 2019

Space pioneer Sigmund Jähn has passed away

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Space
Portrait: Sigmund Jähn
Sigmund Jähn
Image 1/7, Image: DLR

Sigmund Jähn

On 26 August 1978, GDR citizen Sigmund Jähn became the first German to journey into space. Together with his Soviet commander, Valery Bykovsky, he flew to the Soviet Salyut 6 space station. There, Jähn conducted numerous scientific experiments. With his eight-day flight, during which he orbited Earth 125 times, he became famous in both East and West.

Sigmund Jähn und Waleri Fjodorowitsch Bykowski vor dem Start 1978
Sigmund Jähn with Valery Bykovsky before the launch in 1978
Image 2/7, Image: Archiv

Sigmund Jähn with Valery Bykovsky before the launch in 1978

Sigmund Jähn (front) and the Soviet cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky before their journey into space in 1978. Bykovsky died in March 2019.

Ten German astronauts were present at the opening of :envihab in 2013
Ten German astronauts were present at the opening of :envihab in 2013
Image 3/7, Image: DLR

Ten German astronauts were present at the opening of :envihab in 2013

The first German in space, Sigmund Jähn, and ninel other German space travellers accepted invitations to the ceremonial opening of the :envihab research facility at the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Cologne on 5 July 2013. From left to right: Gerhard Thiele, Reinhold Ewald, Klaus-Dietrich Flade, Ulrich Walter, Hans Schlegel, Ernst Messerschmid, Thomas Reiter, Sigmund Jähn, Ulf Merbold and Alexander Gerst.

Sigmund Jähn and German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst
Sigmund Jähn and German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst
Image 4/7, Image: Archiv

Sigmund Jähn and German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst

Sigmund Jähn (left) and the German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst attending an event at the German Space Exhibition in Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz.

In the cosmonaut hotel in Baikonur 2018
In the cosmonaut hotel in Baikonur 2018
Image 5/7, Image: ©DLR

In the cosmonaut hotel in Baikonur 2018

On 5 June 2018, Sigmund Jähn (centre) met Chair of the DLR Executive Board Pascale Ehrenfreund (2nd from left), DLR Executive Board Member for the Space Administration Walther Pelzer (left), ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner (right) and Member of the German Bundestag Klaus-Peter Willsch in the cosmonaut hotel in Baikonur before Alexander Gerst's launch on his horizons mission.

A warm reunion with cosmonaut Vinogradov
A warm reunion with cosmonaut Vinogradov
Image 6/7, Image: ©DLR

A warm reunion with cosmonaut Vinogradov

In Baikonur, Sigmund Jähn met the cosmonaut Pavel Vladimirovich Vinogradov again on 6 June 2018 before the start of Alexander Gerst's mission.

Siegmund Jähn at the rollout before Alexander Gerst's launch in 2018
Siegmund Jähn at the rollout before Alexander Gerst's launch in 2018
Image 7/7, Image: ©DLR

Siegmund Jähn at the rollout before Alexander Gerst's launch in 2018

On 6 June 2018, 40 years after becoming the first German to go into space, Siegmund Jähn visited Baikonur and watched the rollout of the rocket that would carry Alexander Gerst into space.

It is with great sadness that the Executive Board and staff of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have learned of the death of Sigmund Jähn, the first German to go into space. He passed away on 21 September 2019.

“With the death of Sigmund Jähn, German space research has lost a world-renowned cosmonaut, scientist and engineer,” says Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board. “The first German to go into space always saw himself as a bridge builder between East and West and an advocate for the peaceful use of space. We will preserve and perpetuate this message, for Earth and space, in his memory.”

Contact
  • Andreas Schütz
    DLR Spokesperson, Head of Media Relations
    German Aerospace Center (DLR)
    Media Relations
    Telephone: +49 2203 601-2474
    Fax: +49 2203 601-3249
    Linder Höhe
    51147  Cologne
    Contact

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