LSI Director Abraham van Veen welcomes the ESA astronauts to the Landesspracheninstitut.
Language training of the new ESA astronauts started in Bochum
The "Next Generation" is here! The new astronaut class, which was introduced last year from the European Space Agency (ESA), arrived for language training in Bochum.
Sophie Adenot (France), Rosemary Coogan (UK), Pablo Álvarez Fernández (Spain), Raphaël Liégeois (Belgium) and Marco Sieber (Switzerland) are learning Russian in several intensive training phases until the end of the year to prepare them for future space missions on board the International Space Station ISS. They are joined by Australian Katherine Bennell-Pegg, who has been undergoing astronaut training at ESA in Cologne since April.
The ISS is a joint project of ESA, the American space agency NASA, the Russian space agency Roskosmos and the space agencies of Canada and Japan. Despite the difficult political conditions caused by the Russian attack on the Ukraine, the cooperation onboard the ISS between Russia and the partner nations will continue for the time being.
The aspiring astronauts will not only learn Russian for everyday use up to B1 level, but also, in further training units in the coming year, specialist vocabulary and technical terms that are essential for working in the Russian part of the ISS and for communicating with the Russian cosmonauts.
The team from LSI's Russian department, led by Dr Oxana Swirgun, can look back on many years of experience in the field of language training on behalf of ESA. Indeed, the previous generation with the two Germans Alexander Gerst and Matthias Maurer already learned Russian at LSI. Compared to the regular Russian courses at LSI, which are open to all interested parties on a professional and private basis, the astronaut training has a special challenge in store for the teachers: The language of instruction is not, as usual, German but English.
Incidentally, only recently did a well-known person use LSI's Russian language skills to attract public attention. Matthias Maurer was the last German to spend six months on board the ISS from November 2021 to May 2022 as part of the Cosmic Kiss mission. On 24th November 2021, he reported from space via an inflight call and greeted LSI and the audience at the Bochum Planetarium in Russian, the language he also needed for his on-board mission.