Two ESA astronauts aboard the ISS

On board the Station since November 11, 2021, the German Matthias Maurer is nearing the end of his mission. On April 27, 2022, he was joined by his Italian colleague. That to ESA astronauts have a few days together before Maurer returns to Earth with his American colleagues.

Cristoforetti and Maurer live from the ISS

This European duo was highlighted on the occasion of a live video from ISS on May 2nd. On the spot, ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher spoke with the astronauts, along with the heads of DLR (German Agency) and ASI (Italian Agency), Walter Pelzer and Giorgio Saccoccia, respectively. Below is the recording of this live.

Note that the Mission Minerva and Cosmic Kiss inscriptions at the top right of the screen are a reference to the name of the missions for Samantha Cristoforetti and Matthias Maurer for ESA.
When the Italian took the microphone, there was no sound. She identified the problem and called herself “Noviceand adds: “I just got on board the station, forgot to turn on the microphone! In fact, Samantha Cristoforetti is not the novice of this European duo, as this is her second mission, while it is the first for Matthias Maurer, who can also be seen smiling broadly over this joke. Cristoforetti also commented that she adapted more quickly to weightlessness this time. The value of the science carried out there was emphasized, and Maurer emphasized the importance of the ISS in terms of international and peaceful cooperation.

The European duos of the ISS

Cristoforetti therefore gets a few days in common with his colleague from ESA, Matthias Maurer, before returning to Earth with Crew-3. However, if the situation is not frequent, it is not the first time that two ESA astronauts are in the ISS together.
First of all, and to date, there have been about thirty stays of Europeans on board the station (some have completed more than one mission). The first is the Italian Umberto Guidoni in 2001, followed the same year (but not at the same time) by Claudie Haigneré, the first European.
On the ESA astronaut duo page we get the following list.

In December 2006, the Swede became Christer Bird Blood arrives with the space shuttle Discovery (STS-116) and finds the German aboard the ISS Thomas Reiter. The latter returns to Earth at the same time as his colleague with the space shuttle on December 22nd.

Christer Fuglesang (left) and Thomas Reiter on the ISS in late 2006.  Credit: NASA

Christer Fuglesang (left) and Thomas Reiter on the ISS in late 2006.
Credit: NASA

In February 2008, the French Leopold Eyharts and the German Hans Schlegel take off towards the ISS aboard the space shuttle Atlantis (flight STS-122) to set up the European Columbus Laboratory. Schlegel returns first with Atlantis, while Eyharts returns in late March with another shuttle, Endeavor (STS-123).

The crews on the ISS and the space shuttle were assembled in the European module Columbus.  Top, second from left: Hans Schlegel with Léopold Eyharts in red next to him.  Credit: NASA

The crews on the ISS and the space shuttle were assembled in the European module Columbus. Top, second from left: Hans Schlegel with Léopold Eyharts in red next to him.
Credit: NASA

In 2009, the Belgian Frank De Winne stayed at the ISS from May to December 2009. The Swede Christer Bird Blood joined him for a few days during mission STS-128 of the space shuttle Discovery from August 29 to September 12.

Christer Fuglesang (left) and Frank De Winne on the ISS on August 31, 2009. Credit: NASA

Christer Fuglesang (left) and Frank De Winne on the ISS on August 31, 2009.
Credit: NASA

In late 2010, the Italian Paolo Nespoli flew to the ISS with a Soyuz to stay there until May 24, 2011. His compatriot Roberto Vittori joined it in May 2011 with the space shuttle Endeavor (flight STS-134, the penultimate of a space shuttle).

Roberto Vittori (left) and Paolo Nespoli are here together in the European ATV-2 cargo ship that docked at the ISS in 2011. Credit: NASA

Roberto Vittori (left) and Paolo Nespoli are here together in the European ATV-2 cargo ship that docked at the ISS in 2011.
Credit: NASA

In November 2021, Thomas Pesquet should have spent a few days with Matthias Maurer in the ISS. But several postponements, especially caused by the weather, thwarted the plans, and the Frenchman returned on November 8, a handful of days before his German colleague took off on the 10th!

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