Back in 2016, the privately funded spaceflight program, Die Astronautin, announced it would be accepting applications for the position of first female German astronaut. So far, all eleven Germans who have gone into outer space have been men.
Nicola Baumann is a German reserve astronaut and former fighter pilot who became the second female fighter pilot in the history of the German Air Force in 2007 flying both a Tornado and a Eurofighter Typhoon. As a fighter pilot, Baumann applied to be Germany’s first female astronaut among more than eighty candidates on the list as of September 2016 and was one of thirty women taking part in the final selection process as of December 2016.
Last year, she was selected as a reserve astronaut in the 2022 European Space Agency Astronaut Group, a magnificent achievement.
This month, Nicola Baumann was interviewed for Champions Speakers, a company that works with the world’s most influential after-dinner speakers, sector-specific specialists, event hosts, and corporate entertainment.
In the Shadow of Lewis & Clark
When Baumann was asked to predict the “next big thing” in space exploration, she gave an answer that was expected but also very exciting.
“I think it will be two things,” she began. “One is the real pioneers and the astronauts going out to push that final frontier. So, Moon exploration, Mars exploration… I think Mars exploration,” though she added that this latter one will be a lot more difficult than most people think.
Baumann also thinks that trailing right behind these will be the tourists.
“Yeah, more fun adventure-type things and I see we will mimic every other exploration that we had in the history of mankind. You know, where there’s Lewis and Clark running across the prairie and the people in the wagons right behind,” said Baumann.
Featured image: Credit: Die Astronautin