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By Barbara Warmbein; European Space Agency

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Extra resources for A case for humans in space : the European astronauts

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Spaceflight Experience From 11 to 22 February, 2000, Gerhard participated as Mission Specialist in the STS-99 mission. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) was dedicated to the first three-dimensional, digital mapping of the Earth’s surface on a nearglobal scale. He was responsible for SRTM operations, including the deployment and retraction of the 60 m boom from Endeavour's cargo bay that carried one of the flight's radar systems. He was also one of two spacewalking crew members, in the event a contingency spacewalk was necessary.

He performed some 40 European scientific experiments and participated in the maintenance of the Mir. He performed two spacewalks to install and later retrieve astrophysical sensors of the European Space Exposure Facility experiments (ESEF). After the mission, he was trained as Soyuz Return Commander. Current Assignment Within the Directorate of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration Programme, he is providing support to the European Robotic Arm and Columbus programmes. Since April 2001 he is assigned to the first ISS advanced training class to prepare for one of the first European long-term flights on board the ISS.

Why were people around the globe shocked when they heard the news, regardless whether they lived in Moscow or Sydney, Tokyo or Capetown, Mexico City or Paris? Let alone the people of the US and Israel. Many of us can still recall where they were and what they were doing when they first heard the devastating news. ) People feel attached to these astronauts. But what are these ties? I believe they root in our deepest inner self. Human beings have a desire to explore the unknown, to comprehend the worlds beyond, to probe the boundaries – and thus push them further.

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