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Astronaut will be first Dane in space

Aerospace engineer and astronaut Andreas Mogensen will talk about his upcoming trip to the International Space Station and training for the big departure

One small step for Andreas, one giant leap for space research in Denmark. In September astronaut and aerospace engineer Andreas Mogensen will embark on a journey most of us have dreamt of – he will travel to space.

Back in May 2009, Mogensen beat out 8,000 applicants when he was selected as one of six new astronauts at the European Space Agency (ESA). Then the waiting game began. He was advised that he might have to wait up to 10 years before he ventured into space. In August 2013 it was decided that Mogensen would begin his new job in zero gravity at the International Space Station (ISS) on a 10-day mission to be launched in September 2015 with a Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft. Andreas Mogensen becomes the first astronaut of Danish origin to be sent to space.

“This is a very big day for me – a dream come true. ISS has gone from being a source of inspiration to being a reality and my future workplace,” Mogensen said at a press conference at the Tycho Brahe Planetarium.

Deep sea training

Since becoming an ESA astronaut, Mogensen has been travelling the world receiving training in Russia, USA, Japan, Canada, and Europe.

Mogensen participated in the ESA CAVES 2012 mission, which involved living underground for a week and exploring a cave system in Sardinia. This exercise is considered to be the Earth equivalent of a space-mission, as it focuses on human behaviour and performance in extreme environments.

Mogensen was also selected to participate in the 2013 NASA SEATEST 2 mission located at the Aquarius undersea research laboratory, which is also a great analogue for space exploration missions. Additionally, during the SEATEST 2 mission Mogensen had the opportunity to trial some of the technology he will be using in space later this year.

6 years of training for 10 days in space

Accompanying Mogensen aboard Soyuz TMA-18M will be Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov and English soprano Sarah Brightman.

For a swift period of 10 days Mogensen will be stationed on the ISS 500 kilometres in space, where he will be trialling new technology that will impact future space travel. Due to the short length of his stay in space, Mogensen will have little time to adapt to weightlessness and get his bearings on the space station, which is as large as a football field, making his 6-year training schedule vital to the success of the mission.

Mogensen talked at the university 19 March about his preparations for the mission, training in NASA’s famed astronaut training facility, full of underground caves and an ocean floor laboratory, and the realization of his dream of getting into outer space.

universitypost@adm.ku.dk

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