Godspeed, Sigmund Jähn

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Godspeed, Sigmund Jähn

Postby Arneb » Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:35 am

Died yesterday age 82, in his home.

You may not recognize the name, but he was the first German in space - as a komonaut on the Soviet Salyut 6 space station. His ticket to space was given out by the Soviet Union's "Interkosmos" program, by which "brother states" in the Warsaw Pact received one free kosmonaut ticket each. He went to Space in August and September 1878, for 7 days. His West German counterpart, Ulrich Merbold, only made it to space on the Spacelab-1 mission aboard STS-9 Columbia in 1983, becoming the first Non-American astronaut and travelling under the command of John Young.

Jähn's biography is a strange mirror of recent German history. He was one of the Volksarmee's top fighter pilots, it is quite possible he would have flown attacks against his Western compatriots in the case of an East-Western confrontation (not that it would have mattered much amid general nuclear devastation, but still). As a high officer in the Volksarmee, he became jobless after unification, before ESA thought of him and his old Soviet contacts and made him a liaison officer for the ESA-Roskosmos Mir programme training European astronatuts in Star City near Moscow.

Even though he made a career being a loyal soldier of Socialism, he seems to have come to terms with his post-unification world. He was always highly supportive of his "pupils" in Star City, and he called Alexander Gerst, our latest Teutonic contribution to the astronaut corps, a friend and a worthy successor as a scientist, engineer, and spacefarer.

May you rest in peace, Sigmund.
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Re: Godspeed, Sigmund Jähn

Postby Мастер » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:22 am

He was also the last leader of East Germany, the one who opened the borders.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Bye,_Lenin!
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Re: Godspeed, Sigmund Jähn

Postby Arneb » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:58 pm

The Jähn cult in the GDR after his flight was perhaps even worse than the Gagarin cult, carried to extremes with Deutsche Gründlichkeit. Inside joke: Die DDR jähnt, we in the West used to mock it. Good Bye Lehnin alludes to that. The idea with the rocket at the end is very moving. The flight was part and parcel of every GDR childhood/youth in the 80s.
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Re: Godspeed, Sigmund Jähn

Postby Heid the Ba » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:41 pm

Whatever the politics and the fallout from it, he was a brave man and a cosmonaut and I salute him.
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Re: Godspeed, Sigmund Jähn

Postby Arneb » Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:00 am

Totally. And he was a figure you could relate to, keeping a datcha in his Saxonian home town, singing along with the local Männsergesangsverein, exchanging letters with his school pals, etc. He was quite the "What's the fuss about, I just did my job" kind of guy, very much resembling Neil Armstrong in that respect.
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