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Deutsches Technikmuseum - 40 years of German space flight

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Photograph of three toy or plush figures. A yellow rat wearing a sailor’s shirt and a red cloth cap. A bearded man in a white and blue space suit and a small boy made from rubber in a light blue pressure suit.

Toy astronauts - this "Sandman" from East German TV and rubber cosmonaut were produced in the GDR to commemorate Sigmund Jaehn’s voyage to space. A plush figure of the West German character "Hein Bloed" actually went to space itself in 1997.
© SDTB / C. Kirchner

Photo: Round sew-on patch with eight names around its edge. A banner of the American and German flag is wrapped around a specially designed globe, in front of which is a space shuttle.

Logo of Spacelab D-1 Mission 1985 with the names of the crew, including Reinhard Furrer and Ernst Messerschmid
© SDTB / C. Kirchner

Photo: White space suit and helmet with acrylic glass viewing pane. The suit is fitted with various blue straps and metal parts. On the right shoulder, a circular emblem can be seen bearing the inscription "Interkosmos".

Soviet Sokol-type pressure suit: These suits protect cosmonauts in case of sudden pressure drops in the spacecraft during take-off and landing.
© SDTB / C. Kirchner

Photo: Wedge-shaped piece of concrete. Pink and blue paint remnants are still visible on its top.

This piece of the Berlin Wall flew to space with the German Spacelab Mission D-2 in 1993.
© SDTB / C. Kirchner

Photo: Left glove of a space suit with fingers made from black rubber. A rectangular mirror with a golden frame is fastened to the wrist.

Left glove of Reinhold Ewald’s pressure suit. The small mirror on the wrist can be used to check for any leaks in the space suit.
© SDTB / C. Kirchner

Photo: Sleeping bag made from quilted blue fabric with white seams. It is fitted with a hood that can be pulled over the astronaut’s head from the rear, leaving a hole for their face. On the edges are small eyelets so it can be hung up in the space ship.

Astronauts use sleeping bags like this as beds in space.
© SDTB / C. Kirchner

40 years of German space flight

2 states, 11 astronauts and 100 exhibits

20 September 2018 to 31 March 2019

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.

Photo: Mr Jaehn, ring binder in hand, taking notes.

Cosmonaut Sigmund Jaehn on board the Soviet space station Salyut 6, 1978 © DLR

Space travel in the divided and united Germany

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).

Photo: The picture shows a cross-shaped space station with a space shuttle resembling an aircraft docked underneath. The space shuttle bears the name Atlantis. The earth’s blue horizon is visible in the lower right-hand corner.

On 29th June 1995, a US shuttle docked onto the Russian MIR space station for the first time. This was the start of a new chapter in international space collaboration, which also benefited Germany. © NASA

Pressure suits, sleeping bags, souvenirs and original rocket parts

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.

Photo: An astronaut in a white space suit hovers above a space station’s cylindrical module. The module is made of unpainted metal plates. In the background a solar panel grid and the earth’s blue shimmering horizon can be seen.

Astronaut Hans Schlegel at work on the Columbus European Research Module of the International Space Station, 2008. © NASA

Surprising anecdotes from space

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.

Space exhibits collection at the Deutsche Technikmuseum to be expanded

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.

Header photo: Alexander Gerst working on the outer shell of the ISS during his first extra-vehicular activity on 7th October 2014. © DLR