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On this day 25 years ago, on October 2nd 1991, Franz Viehböck became the first Austrian to launch into space. The 7-day AustroMir mission took the only red-white-red astronaut to the Russian space station MIR. And with him, 15 scientific experiments.
October 2nd 1991, 06:59 CET: Lift-off. The Soyuz-TM-13 capsule with Commander Aleksandr Volkov, flight engineer Toktar Aubakirov and scientific cosmonaut Franz Viehböck on board departs from the launch pad in Baikonur. Two days later on October 4th 1991 at 08:40 CET, the capsule with the three cosmonauts docks at the Russian space station MIR.
Franz Viehböck still has vivid memories of
“Looking outside the window of the space station MIR and the constant feeling of weightlessness. And all the technical details, of course. The launch, the re-entry into the atmosphere, the landing.”
The 7-day stay at the space station MIR was characterized by 15 scientific experiments from the fields of space medicine, physics and space technology. MOTOMIR, for example, not only helped train against the loss of muscle in weightlessness, but also examined, with extremely high precision and detail, the changes in human strength and speed.
MIGMAS-A was the first installment of a station to analyze materials. The instrument diagnosed the changes in materials resulting from space corrosion. MIGMAS-A functioned without a problem until the controlled descent of MIR. An identical copy is featured in the AustroMir collection, maintained by the OeWF.
On October 10th 1991 at 05:12 CET, the space flight of Franz Viehböck ended with the landing of Soyuz TM-12 in the Kazakh Steppe.
AustroMir 1, the official name of the mission, was a great success. Nonetheless, human spaceflight should take a backseat in Austria in the following years.
25 years later, OeWF board member Gernot Grömer summarizes:
“In Austria, we have a well-established field of analog research. With this, we can occupy a niche and contribute a little bit to Austria being in the front lines of human spaceflight.”
To celebrate the AustroMir anniversary, Franz Viehböck invited his spaceflight colleagues from all around the world to the XXIX Planetary Congress in Vienna. From tomorrow on until Friday, astronauts and cosmonauts will discuss current issues in spaceflight.
”With the ASE Congress in Vienna, we want to give an impetus to make human spaceflight socially acceptable here in Austria as well.”,
Gernot Grömer sums up.
This article is available in: German
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