ESA Astronaut, FRG
DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH: September 2, 1953, in Heidenheim-Brenz,
Baden-Wurttemberg, FRG. He considers Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen,
to be his hometown.
EDUCATION: From 1976 to 1982 he studied physics at Ludwig-Maximilians
Universitat in Munich and at Ruprecht-Karls-Universitat
in Heidelberg. In 1978 he received a Master of Science (physics)
at Ludwig-Maximilians Universitat in Munich and in 1985
he received a Doctorate at the Institute for Environmental
Physics of Heidelberg Universitat.
FAMILY STATUS: Married, has four children.
Member of Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (German Physical
Society), American Geophysical Union, Weltraumforum Aachen
at Rheinisch-Westfalische Technische Hochschule, Aachen
and Member of the IAA (International Academy of Astronautics)
Subcommittee on Lunar and Mars Development.
Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany,
1-st class (1993). Medal of Merit of Baden-Wurttemberg (2001),
NASA Space Flight Medal (2000), American Astronautical Society
Flight Achievement Award (2000) with STS-99 crew.
HOBBY: Cooking, music, reading and sports, especially badminton.
He enjoys spending time with his family.
In 1972 upon finishing school Thiele was called up and served
with the navy of the German Federal Armed Forces for four
From 1974 to 1976 he served as the combat unit officer aboard
patrol boat S-148.
In 1976 he was discharged from Naval Service and entered
Ludwig-Maximilians in Munich.
In 1978 he was transferred to Ruprecht-Karls-Universitat
(Heidelberg) where he studied till 1982.
From 1972 to 1976 he served with the navy of the German
Federal Armed Forces as operations/weapons officer aboard
fast patrol boats.
From 1982 he worked on his doctoral thesis on physics at
the Universitat in Heidelberg, which he defended in July
1985. Then till 1987 he was a research scientist at Princeton
University. His research activities focused on global ocean
circulation and its implications on climate development.
He has authored and co-authored publications in the field
of geophysics and oceanography as well as psychology.
In August 1987 he was enlisted in the Astronaut Corps of
German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR) where from
1988 to 1990 he passed a course of basic astronaut training.
From October 1990 to April 1993 he trained at the Johnson
Space Center, NASA, as back-up payload specialist for a
flight onboard the Columbia reusable Shuttle (STS-55) with
Spacelab-D2. During the STS-55/Spacelab D-2 Mission (from
April 26 to May 6, 1993) Thiele performed the co-ordinator
functions for communication with the crew and served as
alternate payload specialist in the Payload Operations Control
Center of DLR at Oberpfaffenhofen. In 1994, he served with
the Strategic Planning Group for the program Director of
DLR and in 1995, he was assigned to head the Crew Training
Center (CTC) at DLR in Cologne.
Since 1994 he has served as an active member for the International
Academy of Astronuatics Subcommittee on Lunar Development.
In 1996-1998 he passed a course of general space training
at the Johnson Space Center, NASA, and was qualified as
the Shuttle mission specialist.
In August 1998, he was transferred from DLR to the ESA Astronaut
Corps based at the European Astronaut Center (AEC) in Cologne,
He performed his first space flight on February 11-22,
2000 as a mission specialist of the Endeavour Shuttle (STS-99).
The main flight task was the radar mapping of the Earth
surface. During this mission he was responsible for the
scientific equipment operations, including the deployment
and retraction of a 60-meter boom from the Endeavour's cargo
bay upon which one of the flight's radar systems was mounted.
Thiele was also one of two spacewalking crew members, in
the event contingency spacewalk would have been required
during the flight. The flight duration was 11 days, 05 hours,
38 minutes, 50 seconds.
Following this flight, Thiele has been assigned by NASA
for collateral duties as a CapCOM, the interface in charge
of communications, between the Control Center and the Space
Shuttle crew. This is the first time that this position
has been assigned to a European astronaut.
Since August 2001, Gerhard Thiele is serving as Head of
the ESA Astronauts and Operations Unit at the European Astronaut
In addition, he was acting Head of the Astronaut Division
from August 2002 until April 2003.
In January 2003, Gerhard Thiele was assigned as flight engineer
in the Soyuz TMA spacecraft backup crew for a flight to
the ISS as a member of visiting crew (VC-6).
He is a back-up of Andre Kuipers, Dutch astronaut, ESA.
In May 2003 he started training at Yu.A. Gagarin Cosmonaut
Training Center, Star City, Russia.
Based on the ESA site data and Cosmonautics News Journal.
German Astronaut Gerhard Thiele, mission specialist presenting
the European Space Agency during his first space flight
onboard the Endeavour Shuttle (STS-99) at a period of February