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Astronaut Maurer arrived in Cape Canaveral: Soon the 600th person in space

A few days before his planned launch for the International Space Station ISS, the German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer arrived at the Cape Canaveral spaceport. Maurer and his three NASA colleagues Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron got on Tuesday – dressed in blue suits and with protective masks – from a small plane at the spaceport in the US state of Florida. They were greeted with applause by employees of the US space agency, the European space agency ESA and the private space company SpaceX. There are still numerous final preparations and control checks to be carried out in Cape Canaveral until Sunday.

“I’m very excited to be standing before my first flight into space,” said Maurer at a brief press conference after arrival. “My crew members are great and I look forward to having a good time in space.” The focus is on the scientific experiments that he and his colleagues wanted to carry out on the ISS, said 51-year-old Matthias Maurer.

The start of the “Crew-3” is planned for October 31 at 2.21 am local time (7.21 am CET). Maurer would be the twelfth German in space – and the fourth German on the ISS. The four are transported in the Crew Dragon of the space company SpaceX by Elon Musk.

On the ISS, Maurer will carry out numerous experiments over a period of about six months at an altitude of around 400 kilometers and will also complete an outdoor assignment. The last examinations before the start have all gone very well so far, said NASA manager Bob Cabana. “We have a good spaceship for you guys.”

With the four astronauts, the number of people who have ever flown into space would rise to over 600, NASA announced. Maurer assigned the authority the number 600. “I was the lucky one who got this round number, but we will all have fun in space,” said the German.

He actually wanted to give the place to his colleague Barron. For them it all feels a bit “surreal”, said Barron. “This will be the first rocket launch I’ll see live – and I’ll be in the capsule.”

For him it is “a whole new way to travel,” joked Maurer. “It’s the first time I’m going on a trip and I don’t have to worry about anything because everything is organized for me and I can focus on what is really important.” He is hoping for “a great week” until Sunday, said Maurer.

(olb)

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