Given the changing space industry, German astronaut Matthias Maurer emphasizes the importance of manned space travel for Europe. Europe also needs the same capacities and skills in this area as other actors, Maurer told the German Press Agency on the sidelines of a meeting with the heads of state of German-speaking countries in Belgium. “So that in the future we will no longer hitchhike through the galaxy, but that we will be able to take European astronauts into space with European capsules and carrier systems.”

Maurer: Space is developing like the Internet did 20 years ago

Space travel is currently changing completely, said Maurer. While in the past state organizations such as the US and European space agencies, Nasa and Esa, dominated, private actors are now active. “And there are companies that can do more than the European Space Agency, and we shouldn’t accept that,” said Maurer. Space is currently developing in a similar way to the Internet 20 years ago. “And we can either actively shape this move as an actor and then generate part of this market for Europe. Or we can simply become a customer.” The bricklayer, who comes from Saarland, worked on the International Space Station ISS for almost six months in 2021/2022.