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First German in space: Sigmund Jähn is dead


In the East he was a hero, in the West long almost unknown: Sigmund Jähn was the first German in space. Now the cosmonaut died at the age of 82 years.

Sigmund Jähn is dead. According to the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the former cosmonaut died on Saturday at the age of 82 at his home in Strausberg, Brandenburg.

Jähn was the first German on 26 August 1978 with the Soviet capsule "Soyuz 31" into space. The aim of the flight was the space station "Salyut 6", commander of the mission was the Russian Valery Bykovsky.

What excited him on a flight into space, has asked the Spiegel Jähn at a meeting last year. Jahn said then that he had been in the National People's Army of the GDR fighter pilots. "If you have the chance to fly a rocket, you're lucky."

From the archive

With Sigmund Jähn by Baikonur "Bit out of bounds"

Jähn's flight lasted 7 days, 20 hours and 49 minutes, during which time he circled the earth 125 times. The science program included, in addition to the use of the multi-spectral camera "MKF 6" for exploration of the Earth, experiments on crystal growth and medical experiments.

A "nice, good friend"

Back on Earth, the spaceman wanted to fly again later, but it did not happen to the end of the GDR anymore. The first West German in space was Ulf Merbold, who flew in late 1983 as the first non-US citizen on the Space Shuttle. After the change, Jähn got help from Merbold to work as a consultant for DLR and the European Space Agency (ESA) in Russia.

Esa astronaut Alexander Gerst had invited Jähn on his own flights into space in 2014 and 2018 for the start in Kazakh Baikonur. Jähn is a "nice, good friend" so Gerst.

Source: spiegel

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