ESO astronomer Suzanna Randall has been selected for astronaut training program Astronautin that aims to train the first female German astronaut and send her to the International Space Station (ISS).
Suzanna Randall, who was born in Cologne, has been selected as one of two Astronautin trainees. Randall studied astronomy in the UK and subsequently graduated from the University of Montreal in Canada with a PhD in astrophysics. Randall currently works as an astronomer at ESO and is involved with the ALMA project.
Randall also studies the evolution of pulsating, blue, subdwarf stars. She has been an avid paraglider for many years, is a trained yoga instructor and enjoys winter sports. She is now one step closer to her dream of becoming the first German woman to travel into space thanks to the Astronautin program.
The Astronautin initiative was set up in 2016 to inspire young women to take up professions in space, science, mathematics and technology, and to send the first female German astronaut into space. It will also use the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS) to study how the female body reacts to weightlessness.
Randall’s training will include the environment of the ISS, on-board systems and procedures as well as participating in many activities that place heavy demands on candidates, including parabolic flights, survival training, flight training and robotics training.
Over the next two years, Randall will compete for the single space mission place against 34-year-old meteorologist Insa Thiele-Eich. In April 2017, Thiele-Eich was selected for the programme alongside Eurofighter pilot Nicola Baumann, out of 400 candidates. But after Baumann left the project, the selection committee unanimously agreed to give Suzanna Randall her place.
“We are pleased that Suzanna Randall can jump directly into training with her previous knowledge as an astrophysicist,” says Claudia Kessler, initiator of Astronautin.