Recently the anniversary passed of four decades since the first space flight to be manned by a German astronaut - doesn’t time fly?
On 26th August 1978, a rocket to the Salyut 6 space station launched from Baikonur in the Soviet Union. On board was the first German to enter space, the East German cosmonaut Sigmund Jaehn. Since 6th June 2018, Alexander Gerst, the eleventh German in space, has been orbiting the earth as commander of the International Space Station (ISS). Over the past forty years, eleven astronauts have spent over 800 days in space during sixteen missions.
On around 150 square metres, this anniversary exhibition relates the story of German space travel - from the first flights during the Cold War, to the start of East/West collaboration on the Russian MIR space station and shared construction and operation of the ISS. This retrospective looks back at how enemies during the Cold War became partners in space from the 1990s onwards.
The life stories of the eleven German astronauts who have voyaged to space to date tell us how people become astronauts and why, from GDR citizen Sigmund Jaehn (1978), including Ulf Merbold (1983) and Thomas Reiter (1995) and right up to the present day, with Alexander Gerst (2014 and 2018).
The story of manned German space flight is illustrated in around one hundred exhibits. Highlights include the original spacesuits of the German astronaut Reinhard Furrer and his measuring helmet, developed in West Berlin and used to perform research on equilibrium in space. There is also the start key for the Sojuz rocket, in which Reinhold Ewald flew to the Russian space station MIR in 1997.
Also on show are a piece of the Berlin Wall which was on board an US Space Shuttle in 1993 and an original part of the rocket in which Alexander Gerst voyaged to the ISS on 6th June of this year.
Special clothing, experiments and tools as well as space food and souvenirs provide visitors with an exciting insight into everyday life in space. There are also models of the Salyut 6 (on a 1:25 scale), the SpaceLab (1:15) and the ISS (1:25) illustrating how space ships and space stations are set up and their dimensions.
As well as informing us about history, this exhibition also tells visitors some entertaining stories. Find out why astronauts never share water in space, why they have to take off their shoes before they leave earth and why, after his first space flight in 2014, the German Automobile Association had to fly Alexander Gerst home.
This special exhibition is the first time an exhibition on space flight has been curated in Berlin over a longer period time. Once it has finished, it will gradually be replaced by a permanent exhibition in the same location on space travel with new objects from the museum’s collection. Latest acquisitions include rare items from the European Space Agency’s Ariane programme.
The special exhibition "40 Years of German Space Flight" has been realised in collaboration with the Space Museum in Mittweida, Saxony. The project is supported by the German Centre for Air and Space Travel (DLR) and LSG Sky Chefs.