Astronaut Matthias Maurer has been training for his first space mission for the last five years.
In the fall, the 50-year-old German will finally get his chance to take a rocket ride as he travels to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule.
Training for his six-month stay aboard the space station is now intensifying, with Maurer currently stationed at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston as he makes final preparations for the mission.
Offering some fascinating insight into the training process is a newly released video (top) showing Maurer participating in various activities, including trying different space food at the NASA Space Food Systems Laboratory.
“The food lab specialists even help us to fulfill individual wishes such as adding new food from our home country,” Maurer says, adding that despite most space food being served up in pouches and cans, everything he’s tried so far has been “outstanding.”
The European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut also highlights the importance of staying fit in space, with the microgravity conditions causing muscle and bone loss among ISS inhabitants unless they take regular exercise. This involves sessions lasting two hours a day across six days a week, and includes fitness and cardio training, as well as strength-building weightlifting sessions using a special machine for the unique conditions.
Maurer also notes how the training includes learning how to fix the machines if they break down, as calling up a mechanic from space isn’t a done thing.
As you’d expect, some of the pre-mission training is taking place inside a near-replica of the space station (shown in the video), minus the microgravity conditions, of course.
The astronaut will continue his training for the fall mission at partner agencies around the world over the next weeks and months. ESA is promising more videos to show Maurer’s progress ahead of his first space adventure.
For more on how astronauts work, rest, and play in space, be sure to check out this Digital Trends article featuring a collection of videos made by the astronauts themselves during stays on the orbiting outpost 250 miles above Earth. You’ll even find out how astronauts go to the bathroom in space.
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