6. May 2022
Cosmic Kiss mission comes to an end after 175 days

Matthias Mau­r­er is back on Earth

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Space
ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer and his Crew 3 colleagues in their spacesuits
ESA as­tro­naut Matthias Mau­r­er and his Crew 3 col­leagues in their space­suits
Image 1/11, Credit: ESA/NASA/SpaceX

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer and his Crew 3 colleagues in their spacesuits

ESA as­tro­naut Matthias Mau­r­er and his Crew 3 col­leagues Thomas Marsh­burn, Ra­ja Chari and Kay­la Bar­ron test­ed their Drag­on space­suits in the Har­mo­ny mod­ule of the In­ter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion ISS. On 6 May 2022 at 06:43 CEST, they land­ed on Earth aboard the Drag­on cap­sule 'En­durance'.  
Happy homecoming
Hap­py home­com­ing
Image 2/11, Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Happy homecoming

Thumbs up! - ESA as­tro­naut Matthais Mau­r­er af­ter ex­it­ing the Crew Drag­on space­craft En­durance on board the SpaceX re­cov­ery ship. Mau­r­er and his NASA crew­mates Ra­ja Chari, Kay­la Bar­ron and Tom Marsh­burn land­ed in the Gulf of Mex­i­co off the coast of Tam­pa, Flori­da, on 6 May 2022.
Video: SpaceX – Crew-3 Mis­sion | Re­turn
Video 3/11, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved
De­mand­ing work with a breath­tak­ing view
De­mand­ing work with a breath­tak­ing view
Image 4/11, Credit: NASA/ESA-M.Maurer

De­mand­ing work with a breath­tak­ing view

On 23 March 2022, Matthias Mau­r­er com­plet­ed his first ex­trave­hic­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ty on the In­ter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion ISS. To­geth­er with his NASA col­league Ra­ja Chari, he spent six hours and 54 min­utes out­side the ISS and, among oth­er things, car­ried out fi­nal work on the com­mer­cial ex­ter­nal plat­form Bar­tolomeo.
Exiting the Crew Dragon capsule
Ex­it­ing the Crew Drag­on cap­sule
Image 5/11, Credit: NASA TV

Exiting the Crew Dragon capsule

On 6 May 2022 at 06:43 CEST, ESA as­tro­naut Matthias Mau­r­er and his NASA Crew 3 col­leagues Thomas Marsh­burn, Ra­ja Chari and Kay­la Bar­ron splashed down in the Gulf of Mex­i­co off the coast of Tam­pa, Flori­da on board the Drag­on cap­sule 'En­durance'. Af­ter be­ing re­cov­ered by the SpaceX ves­sel Shan­non, the crew is helped out of the cap­sule.
Recovery of the Crew Dragon spacecraft Endurance
Re­cov­ery of the Crew Drag­on space­craft En­durance
Image 6/11, Credit: NASA TV

Recovery of the Crew Dragon spacecraft Endurance

On 6 May 2022 at 06:43 CEST, ESA as­tro­naut Matthias Mau­r­er and his NASA Crew 3 col­leagues Thomas Marsh­burn, Ra­ja Chari and Kay­la Bar­ron splashed down in the Gulf of Mex­i­co off the coast of Tam­pa, Flori­da on board the Drag­on cap­sule 'En­durance'.
Inspiration in the spirit of the ancestors
In­spi­ra­tion in the spir­it of the an­ces­tors
Image 7/11, Credit: NASA/ESA-M.Maurer

Inspiration in the spirit of the ancestors

Like a mi­ni ver­sion, the patch of Matthias Mau­r­er's Cos­mic Kiss' mis­sion floats next to a copy of the Ne­bra Sky Disc in the Cupo­la ob­ser­va­tion deck on the In­ter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion (ISS). In­spired by the 3600-year-old sky disc, the Cos­mic Kiss mis­sion patch rep­re­sents the spe­cial con­nec­tion that the space sta­tion cre­ates be­tween the in­hab­i­tants of Earth and the cos­mos.
Matthias Maurer during the Bioprint-FirstAid experiment
Matthias Mau­r­er dur­ing the Bio­print FirstAid ex­per­i­ment
Image 8/11, Credit: NASA/ESA-M.Maurer

Matthias Maurer during the Bioprint FirstAid experiment

ESA as­tro­naut Matthias Mau­r­er con­duct­ed the Bio­print FirstAid ex­per­i­ment on the In­ter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion ISS. The handy 3D print­er can be used to print a plas­ter-like lay­er to cov­er wounds.
Versatile training in microgravity with the EMS suit
Ver­sa­tile train­ing in mi­cro­grav­i­ty with the EMS suit
Image 9/11, Credit: ASA/ESA-M.Maurer

Versatile training in microgravity with the EMS suit

Matthias Mau­r­er trained in an EMS suit with the Ad­vanced Re­sis­tive Ex­er­cise De­vice (ARED) on the ISS. The spe­cial train­ing de­vice strength­ens the mus­cles, bones and en­durance of the as­tro­nauts on the ISS. In the pic­ture: Matthias Mau­r­er does squats in the so-called squat train­ing.
Tracking down microbial contamination on the ISS
Track­ing down mi­cro­bial con­tam­i­na­tion on the ISS
Image 10/11, Credit: NASA/ESA-M.Maurer

Tracking down microbial contamination on the ISS

For the Touch­ing Sur­faces ex­per­i­ment, Matthias Mau­r­er ex­am­ined and test­ed nov­el sur­faces for their an­timi­cro­bial ef­fec­tive­ness un­der space con­di­tions. This is be­cause long-term stays in a space sta­tion lead to the de­vel­op­ment of a mi­croflo­ra of its own from the mi­croor­gan­isms car­ried along, which can af­fect the health of as­tro­nauts on board.
Tracking eye changes in space
Track­ing eye changes in space
Image 11/11, Credit: NASA/ESA-M.Maurer

Tracking eye changes in space

In the ser­vice of sci­ence: In the Reti­nal Di­ag­nos­tics project, an eye lens from rou­tine clin­i­cal di­ag­nos­tic op­er­a­tions was used as an adapter to mo­bile de­vices such as smart­phones or tablets. It cap­tured im­ages of Matthias Mau­r­er's reti­na on the ISS to de­tect the so-called Space­flight As­so­ci­at­ed Neu­ro-oc­u­lar Syn­drome (SANS). For this pur­pose, his eye changes and move­ments were record­ed, ex­am­ined and eval­u­at­ed. These videos are trans­ferred to mo­bile de­vices in or­der to test and train AI mod­els that will then au­to­mat­i­cal­ly de­tect any reti­nal changes in as­tro­nauts in the fu­ture.
  • On 6 May 2022 at 06:43 CEST the German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer landed off the coast of Florida on board the crew dragon 'Endurance'.
  • His first mission 'Cosmic Kiss' comes to an end after 175 days on the International Space Station.
  • Matthias Maurer is expected at DLR in Cologne on the evening of 6 May 2022.
  • Focus: Spaceflight, International cooperation, Cosmic Kiss

German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer is back on Earth after spending 175 days on the International Space Station (ISS). He landed in the ocean off the coast of Florida on 6 May 2022 at 00:43 local time (06:43 CEST) aboard the Dragon capsule 'Endurance' with crewmates Kayla Barron, Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn – all NASA astronauts. They left the ISS at 07:20 CEST on 5 May and arrived on Earth after a 23.5-hour flight. 

On 11 November 2021, the 52-year-old materials scientist became the first German to launch to the ISS aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft operated by US company SpaceX. His first mission to the ISS, Cosmic Kiss, began on 12 November when he arrived at the Space Station. The Saarland native conducted more than 100 experiments, including 34 from Germany, in microgravity at 28,000 kilometres per hour 400 kilometres above the Earth. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is involved in the 'Cosmic Kiss' mission in numerous ways. The German Space Agency at DLR was responsible for selecting and coordinating the experiments and contributions from Germany. DLR scientists also conducted their own experiments. ESA's Columbus Control Centre, based at the German Space Operations Center at DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen, is responsible for the planning and implementation of the experiments that take place in the European Columbus module on the ISS.

Best of Cosmic Kiss
ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer was the 600th person in space and spent a total of around 4100 hours on the International Space Station ISS. He circled the Earth more than 2700 times and experienced more than 2700 sunrises and sunsets.
Credit: German Space Agency at DLR

"Germany is a sought-after partner in international spaceflight. The knowledge and skills of all those who participated in the CosmicKiss mission on Earth played a major role in the success of Matthias Maurer's flight," emphasises Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, Chair of the DLR Executive Board. "The German ESA astronaut was involved in more than 100 experiments, 34 of them from Germany. Further analysis of the results back on Earth will show how successful the experiments were. Results from the mission will help us to better understand terrestrial problems in biology, medicine and materials science, among others, and thus be able to find solutions to them."

"We are pleased and relieved that Matthias Maurer is back on Earth in good health. We congratulate him on his first successful ISS mission, which faced particular challenges – including in terms of global politics," adds Walther Pelzer, DLR Executive Board member and Head of the German Space Agency at DLR. "Cosmic Kiss is a great success because the mission has once again shown the importance of environmental sustainability. As the most important European partner of the international Space Station, Germany is focusing on research for the future – and on peaceful international cooperation.”

Mission featuring space tourists and an extravehicular activity

Matthias Maurer is the fourth German on the Space Station and part of the ISS long-duration crews 66 and 67. He experienced the partial evacuation of the ISS shortly after his arrival on 15 November 2021 to avoid a potential collision with fragments of a decommissioned satellite. Thankfully, no collision occurred. The ISS has also hosted space tourists twice for several days in the past six months: In December 2021, for the first time in 12 years, two Japanese visitors spent 10 days on the station, accompanied by a Russian cosmonaut. This was followed in April by the two-week visit of the first commercial ISS crew from US company Axiom Space.

On 23 March, Matthias Maurer conducted a joint extravehicular activity (EVA) with NASA astronaut Raja Chari for six hours and 54 minutes. Together, the two astronauts installed new hoses on a cooling system, replaced a camera and connected a power and data cable to the European Bartolomeo external platform. This EVA was the 441st in space history. On 28 April, Matthias Maurer welcomed his colleague Samantha Christoforetti on the ISS. The Italian ESA astronaut succeeds Maurer on the ISS with her second mission 'Minerva'.

Matthias Maurer has spent approximately 4100 hours on the International Space Station. He has orbited Earth more than 2700 times and experienced almost 2800 sunrises and sunsets. Maurer wore the new EMS suit often, including during exercise, and he also did an above-average amount of work for the ‘Touching Surfaces’ experiment conducted in cooperation with Saarland University, which focuses on the microbial contamination of surfaces. He has also produced more sustainable concrete in microgravity and conducted a series of experiments on bioplasters using a 3D printer. "Most of his experiments were in the fields of materials science, human physiology, technology and the promotion of young scientists," sums up DLR ‘Cosmic Kiss’ Mission Manager Volker Schmid. Getting children and young people excited about spaceflight and STEM subjects in particular were also the focus of Cosmic Kiss. Maurer is an ambassador for the Children's Heart Foundation and has also supported DLR school campaigns from the ISS.

From the Space Station directly to the aerospace medical centre at DLR

The German ESA astronaut is scheduled to arrive in Germany at around 22:30 CEST on 6 May. At the :envihab research facility at DLR in Cologne, Matthias Maurer will be welcomed by DLR and ESA staff and will receive round-the-clock care for the next 14 days.

"We are delighted that Matthias Maurer’s first stop following his return from space will be :envihab. It provides the ideal conditions to recover from the months in space. Our highly specialised team will take the best possible care of him and can thus contribute to the successful completion of the Cosmic Kiss mission," emphasises Jens Jordan, Head of the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine. Maurer's 'Direct Return' is already the eighth time that European astronauts have stayed at DLR's aerospace medicine research facility – previously, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet (2021 and 2017), Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano (2020), German astronaut Alexander Gerst (2018 and 2014), British astronaut Timothy Peake (2016) and Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen (2015) have readjusted to conditions on Earth here.

No successful mission without ground control

Whether it was an extravehicular activity, scientific experiments or live events – while Matthias Maurer was orbiting the Earth on the ISS, he was always in close contact with the Columbus Control Centre, which is located at the German Space Operations Centre at DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen. Around 50 employees ensure that the European research laboratory on the ISS – the Columbus module – is fully operational at all times during all ESA missions. They provided Maurer with continuous support during his many and varied tasks.

Columbus Flight Director Stefan Neumann praises the collaboration with the German ESA astronaut: "It is great to see that Matthias Maurer was able to successfully carry out numerous experiments from a wide range of research fields during his Cosmic Kiss mission. Working with him has been a great pleasure for all of us."

Contact
  • Elisabeth Mittelbach
    Me­dia in­quiries Ger­man Space Agen­cy
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Ger­man Space Agen­cy at DLR
    Telephone: +49 228 447-385
    Fax: +49 228 447-386
    Königswinterer Str. 522-524
    53227 Bonn
    Contact
  • Volker Schmid
    ISS Spe­cial­ist Group Lead­er, Head of the Cos­mic Kiss Mis­sion
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Ger­man Space Agen­cy at DLR
    Sci­ence and Ex­plo­ration
    Königswinterer Straße 522-524
    53227 Bonn
    Contact
  • Andreas Schütz
    DLR Spokesper­son, Head of Me­dia Re­la­tions
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)

    Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Me­dia Re­la­tions
    Telephone: +49 2203 601-2474
    Fax: +49 2203 601-3249
    Linder Höhe
    51147 Cologne
    Contact
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