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Sigmund Jahn, 1978.
13 February 1937 |
Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz, Saxony, Germany
|Rank||Major general, Air Forces of the National People's Army|
Time in space
|7d 20h 49m|
|Selection||1976 Intercosmos Group|
|Missions||Soyuz 31/Soyuz 29|
In 1955 he joined the East German Air Force, where he became a pilot and military scientist. From 1966 until 1970 he studied at the Gagarin Air Force Academy in Monino, in the Soviet Union, and afterwards worked in the administration of the East German air force, responsible for pilot education and flight safety.
Jähn was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union on 3 September 1978. In 1983 he received a doctorate at the Zentralinstitut für Physik der Erde in Potsdam, specialising in remote sensing of the earth.
Starting in 1990, after German reunification, he worked as a freelance consultant for the formerly West German spaceflight agency German Aerospace Center (DLR), and from 1993 also for the European Space Agency (ESA) to prepare for the Euromir missions. In 2002 he finally retired from this job.
Jähn is married and has two children. He lives in Strausberg and he enjoys reading and hunting.
- Hero of the GDR
- Hero of the Soviet Union
- Order of Karl Marx
- Order of Lenin
- Space Exploration Medal
- Meritorious Military Pilot of the German Democratic Republic
Asteroid 17737 was named "Sigmundjähn" in 2001.
In 1976, Jähn was selected with his backup Eberhard Köllner for the Interkosmos programme. He trained in Star City near Moscow for the next two years, and flew on board Soyuz 31 (launched 26 August 1978) to the Soviet space station Salyut 6, and returned on Soyuz 29, landing on 3 September 1978. He spent 7 days, 20 hours, and 49 minutes in space.
During and after the flight, he and the socialist authorities of the GDR pronounced him "the first German cosmonaut", which was remarkable, as in those days the East German state normally stressed that their people were "GDR citizens", to distinguish themselves from West Germany.
- "Dear TV viewers in the German Democratic Republic. I am very happy for the chance to be the first German to take part in this manned space flight." (during his space flight)
- "Mankind is advanced technically. Man can build space stations, can assemble them in space, and ponders about landing on Mars, but the development of mankind itself seems to stagnate on stone age level." (Radio broadcast in the 1990s)
- "…what I saw then was total happiness: Our Earth, in shining in bright blue. Just like a dream." (SUPERillu magazine interview, 1998)
- "As a pilot I just could not resist the offer to fly a space capsule…" (speech in front of DLR audience, 2005)
- A taxi driver greatly resembling Jähn (played by Swiss actor Stefan Walz) appears in the German film Good Bye, Lenin!. Part of the film's plot revolves around the taxi driver being asked to pose as Jähn in mocked up news footage, while the real Jähn is a boyhood idol of the protagonist. The film hints however, the taxi driver is actually Jähn himself, unemployed after the Fall of Communism.
- German pop group Die Prinzen, from the same region of Germany, recorded a song entitled "Wer ist Sigmund Jähn?" ("Who is Sigmund Jähn?") on their 1999 album So viel Spaß für wenig Geld.
- Biography at the website on Heroes of the Soviet Union and Russia (Russian)
- cited at Bild site "Erster Deutscher im Weltraum" (German)
- cited at MDR site "Damals in der DDR" (German)
- cited at German newspaper Stuttgarter Nachrichten site "Sigmund Jähn: erster Deutscher im All" (German)
- Goodbye, Lenin! at the Internet Movie Database
- "Werke 1999"
Media related to Sigmund Jähn at Wikimedia Commons