Now that his six-month stint aboard the International Space Station (ISS) is behind him, German astronaut Matthias Maurer has spoken about what it was like to live and work in space.
The European Space Agency ESA astronaut traveled to the ISS in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule in November 2021 alongside fellow Crew 3 members Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron.
It was Maurer’s first ever space voyage, so there was plenty to get excited about when he experienced life in microgravity conditions for the very first time.
When asked about his personal highlights of the mission, Maurer spoke about going into orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with views of Earth and the spacewalk, describing the experience as “like stepping into a new world.”
During the ISS’ six-month Expedition 66, which ran from October to March, Maurer and his crewmates took an astounding 120,000 photos. With so many pictures, the astronaut’s friends and family have to dread the moment he offers to show them his “holiday” shots, although he added that he hopes to put together a “best of” collection.
Maurer also described the “spectacular” homecoming when the Crew Dragon headed for a splashdown off the Florida coast in May 2022.
“When I went through the plasma, I saw all the colored light outside of the capsule, and then the Gs built up … the parachutes came out and there was a lot of spinning around,” Maurer said.
“That was the moment I worried about the most – how would I react to all those spins when the parachutes came out? Would I get sea sick, travel sick, would I throw up afterwards? – but I was very happy that when we splashed into the sea everything was fine and I felt good, there was a lot of euphoria.”
Speaking of life on Earth, Maurer said that while he felt the weight of gravity on his head and neck upon his return, he also appreciates the more familiar conditions, as it means “my food stays on my plate.” .
The astronaut also spoke about how the journey has changed him, the value of doing scientific work on the ISS and what, if anything, he will do differently if he has another chance to go into space. Launch the video player at the top of the page to watch the full interview.
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