Issue #4(14) 2017 Astronautics

European centre shifts emphasis to deep space missions

The European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.
The European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.
Victor Demaria-Pesce ESA/EAC, Cologne, Germany

The European Astronaut Centre (EAC), located in Cologne, Germany, was established in 1990 by the European Space Agency (ESA) and its Member States for the selection, training, medical support and flight assignments of the European astronaut corp. It has become the ‘home’ of European astronauts.

Human spaceflight is one of the key activities undertaken by ESA on behalf of its Member States and optimal health, as well as physical and technical training of astronauts, is crucial to the success of the human spaceflight programme.

The EAC ‘Integrated Team’ is a model for cooperation between ESA, Member States (those with specific competencies in human spaceflight) and industry teams; despite the different affiliations of the team members, they show extraordinary dedication to the common tasks.

EAC has unique training, medical operations and astronaut operations/support expertise in Europe. While currently focused on the International Space Station (ISS) programme, a large part of EAC’s competencies is relevant for any future human spaceflight programme and its operational experience is a particular asset, having a heritage in spaceflight from earlier decades.

EAC is now also focused on future exploration beyond the ISS and low Earth orbit (LEO) operations, and is actively developing collaborative programmes related to deep space exploration missions.

Read more of Mr. Victor Demaria-Pesce's analysis of the work done at the European center in the full version of the article, available now to our subscribers.

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