- Research & Expeditions
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- About the OeWF
With this slogan we present people of the Austrian Space Forum, who are engaged in our Mars Analog Research Program PolAres. Each of them contributes a small step for future human Mars exploration and that makes each individual a Mars pioneer.Alexander Soucek is vice-president of the OeWF, since childhood he is an amateur astronomer, he is our most experienced Flight Director. He was born in Salzburg, studied law and got his Master of Space Studies from the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. He was working for the Space Policy Institute (George Washington University), at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (Maryland) und at the United Office for Outer Space Affairs at the United Nations in Vienna. During the AustroMars mission (Utah, 2006) he was as analog astronaut part of the field crew. Since 2011 he is Flight Director and in this role led the Mission Support Center during Rio Tinto 2011, Dachstein 2012 and MARS2013 in Morocco.
After 10 years of working for ESA Earth Observation (ESRIN, Rome) he is since March 2013 working as full-time as space lawyer at the ESA headquarter in Paris responsible for space law, international law and international relations. His motivation as volunteer for the OeWF: shape space flight. Open a small roof hatch into tomorrow and look through it. Share the fascination with others. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo: Daniela Humml/ Visual: OeWF Media Claudia Kobald comes from a small town in Styria. She studied aviation engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Graz and is currently working as senior engineer at Tyrol Air Ambulance. Within the OeWF Claudia is engaged as analog astronaut support and in this role she ensured that during the training weekends the analog astronauts did their homework, gained some practice during the glove exercise, got breakfast after morning exercise, assisted during donning training and much more. For AMADEE-15 she helps the analog astronauts preparing for the mission. In her free time she enjoys hiking, volleyball and snowboarding. Claudia it’s great to have you on board and keep on the high spirits!
Photo: Daniela Humml/ Visual: OeWF Media Sebastian Sams grew up in Salzburg and made first contact with the OeWF during his school time. Since then he participated in all our missions in various functions. Currently he is OBHD Team Lead and therefore responsible for the Aouda spacesuit electronics and data handling. In this project he is intrigued by the alternating challenges. The possibility to try unconventional things, to gain unique experience and to find new solutions inspires him anew. Sebastian studies computer science and lives in Innsbruck, he is interested in American Football and enjoys reading Perry Rhodan.
Photo: Daniela Humml/ Visual: OeWF Media Clemens Plank is Flight Director for the AMADEE-15 mission in August 2015. He was born in Linz, Austria but his studies in astronautics and nuclear engineering led him from the TU Munich to the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for his master thesis. Before graduation he participated in ESA´s 57th Parabolic Flight Campaign with the “Hydronauts2Fly” team. A similar research topic on human spaceflight led him to a research stay at NASA´s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas. In 2010 he was part of the TUM based FOCUS-team, launching their experiment into space as part of the REXUS/BEXUS campaign. We wish him good luck for his first Mars analog mission.
Photo: Daniela Humml/ Visual: OeWF Media Olivia Haider is board member of the OeWF. The full-time project manager graduated from the International Space University at the NASA Ames Research Center (USA) in 2009. Since the beginning of Social Media she is a big supporter of direct communication with social media users. She attends regularly SpaceTweetups and SpaceUp’s and she organized the first „MarsTweetup“ during the Dachstein Mars Simulation in 2012. Currently she is responsible for the OeWF Social Media strategy and leads the OeWF Social Media team.
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Photo: Daniela Humml/ Visual: OeWF Media Nina Sejkora is Team Lead of the OeWF Flight Plan team. Moreover she is engaged with lots of curiosity and sociableness in other areas within the OeWF – whether there is support needed for the Aouda spacesuit or building water rockets with students. In her studies of physics she is also occupied with topics like solar-type stars (solar analogs). Her participation for the OeWF gives her the feeling that she is part of something bigger and the possibility to enhance her skills. In her free time, the sporty Tyrolean who also speeks Italian and Spanish, enjoys cooking and baking as well as art and literature.
Photo: Daniela Humml/ Visual: OeWF Media Laura Zanardini is Flight Director for the upcoming AMADEE-15 mission in August 2015. She will be our first female Flight Director. Laura is Italian and was born in Milan. After her studies of Space Engineering at the University of Milan she joined the Italian Space Agency as Liaison and Engineering support at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), Houston, Texas. In 2011 she came back to Europe and is now working as STRATOS Flight Controller at the Columbus Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. There she overlooks the missions of ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and Tim Peake as increment lead flight controller. Dear Laura good luck for your first Mars analog mission.
Photo: Daniela Humml/ Visual: OeWF Media Harald Fuchs was born in a small town near Vienna. Within the OeWF he can enjoy his interest in astronomy and space. Since the AustroMars mission in 2006 Harald is an active member of the OeWF. The IT Team Lead works full-time as system administrator at the faculty for chemistry at the University Vienna. If he is not occupied by computers in his free time he enjoys cycling and reading. With his engagement for the OeWF he hopes to contribute a little bit to path a way for human exploration into our solar system.
Photo: Daniela Humml/ Visual: OeWF Media João Lousada joined the analog astronaut team in January 2015. He was born in Portugal und completed his master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering at the Instituto Superior Técnico of Lisbon. Currently he is working as Electrical Assembly, Integration and Testing Engineer for the Meteosat Third Generation Project for ESA at OHB System AG in Bremen, Germany. He is also one of the organizers of Startup Weekend Space in Bremen. In his free time he enjoys scuba and sky diving, Taekwondo and rock climbing.
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Read in his blog post, how a broken leg made him a better analog astronaut
Photo: Daniela Humml/ Visual: OeWF Media Stefan Dobrovolny is Austrian. He comes originally from Styria. Stefan also participated at our analog astronaut call and was selected into the final group. Stefan is studying Human Medicine, focussed on Emergency Medicine, Cardiology and Sonography at the Medical University of Vienna. Stefan volunteers at the Red Cross Austria as paramedic and at the Austrian Mountain Rescue Team. His motivation of becoming an analog astronaut is, that he can contribute to prepare future human Mars mission.
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Learn more about his motivation in his blog post.
Photo: Daniela Humml/ Visual: OeWF Media Kartik Kumar war born in India, but grew up in The Netherlands. He joined the OeWF analog astronaut team in January 2015. Kartik studied aerospace engineering at the TU Delft with honours and cum laude. He is one of the organizers of SpaceUp NL. Currently he is working as a Marie Curie ITN researcher for the Stardust programme.
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Read his blog post about the OeWF analog astronaut selection.
Photo: Daniela Humml/ Visual: OeWF Media Carmen Köhler participated in the OeWF analog astronaut call for 2015 and was selected from ca. 100 applicants. She is the first female analog astronaut to wear the Aouda spacesuit. Carmen is German, she studied mathematics and meteorology and completed her PhD thesis magna cum laude on cloud ice particle nucleation. She is now a researcher at the German Weather Service in Offenbach. Germany. In her free time, she likes hiking, sea kayaking, scuba diving, Yoga and adventurous vacations in the nature.
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Read Carmen’s blog post.
Photo: Daniela Humml/ Visual: OeWF Media Iñigo Muñoz Elorza was selected as an OeWF analog astronaut in January 2015. He is from Spain and studied economics and aerospace engineering. Iñigo is currently working for HE Space Operations as Galileo Mission Operations Preparation Engineer at DLR in Weßling. HE Space is supporting Iñigo’s analog astronaut training > Thank you!
Learn more about his motivation in his blog post.
Photo: Daniela Humml/ Visual: OeWF Media Gernot Groemer is president of the Austrian Space Forum. He became an analog astronaut for the first time back in 2003 where he was selected as crew member for the MDRS mission No. 11 in Utah. In 2006 he returned to the Mars Desert Research Station as Health & Safety Officer during the AustroMars mission. Both experiences encouraged him to initiate a Mars analog research program within the Austrian Space Forum and led to building the Aouda.X spacesuit simulator. As expedition lead he organized several Mars simulation including the 1 month MARS2013 simulation in Morocco.
„Our work at the OeWF feels like a preview of the future: We are ship builders for future human Mars expeditions. We are building, calculating, programming, tailoring, planning and learning permanently. Be able to work in our team feels inspiring and exciting, sometimes also exhausting and demanding. “
Photo: Katja Zanella-Kux / Visual: OeWF MediaChristoph is a full-time pilot and knows the Austrian Space Forum since several years. In 2012 he was accepted to participate in the first class of analog astronauts which he successfully completed in autumn 2012. His first Mars simulation as an analog astronaut was the 1-month MARS2013 mission in Morocco.
“As it takes up to 3 hours to don the spacesuit feelings like claustrophobia can arise. Try to mentally prepare for such feelings, so that they cannot surprise and overcome you. Try to keep cool and concentrated in every situation.”
Photo: Katja Zanella-Kux / Visual: OeWF MediaLuca Foresta first worked with the Austrian Space Forum in 2012 during the Dachstein Mars Simulation. There he saw the Aouda.X spacesuit for the first time in action. He was accepted to participate in the first class of analog astronauts in 2012 and graduated as analog astronaut in autumn 2012. The MARS 2013 Morocco simulation was his first Mars analog mission as an analog astronaut.
Photo: Stefan Hauth / Visual: OeWF Media Daniel Schildhammer is our most experienced analog astronaut with a total of 110 hours EVA hours with the Aouda Mars analog spacesuit. During the commissioning of the first spacesuit prototype in 2009 Daniel considered in getting involved with the OeWF. Later in 2009 he also became our second “suit-tester”.
Daniel participated in several Mars analog simulations (e.g. RioTinto 2011, Dachstein 2012, Morocco 2013)
Photo: Katja Zanella-Kux / Visual: OeWF Media
This article is available in: German
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