First Danish astronaut to journey into space

Andreas Mogensen will go on his first mission to the International Space Station in 2015

Astronaut Andreas Mogensen’s patience has finally paid off.

In May 2009, he beat out 8,000 other applicants to be selected as one of six new astronauts at the European Space Agency, and since then he has been waiting to be assigned on a mission. He was told that he might have to wait up to ten years, but now it has been decided that he will start his new job in zero gravity as an aerospace engineer at the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015.

That will make him the first Dane ever to venture into space.

"This is a very big day for me – a dream come true. ISS has gone from being a source of inspiration to being a reality and my future workplace," Mogensen said at a press conference at the Tycho Brahe Planetarium.  

The ISS is an international research lab run by the United States, Russia, Europe and Canada.

Will open up future possibilities
When Mogensen is launched into space, it will be a giant leap for Danish space research, according to Kristian Pedersen, the head of the Technical University of Denmark’s (DTU) space programme.

“It will increase awareness of Danish space exploration in a completely new way,” Pedersen told DR Nyheder. “The fact that we have a Dane placed 400km away in the outer limits will bring a new focus to this important and exciting field and will open up infinite possibilities in the future.”

Mogensen is 36 years old and has a PhD degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas.

Before the mission, he will have to go through a tough training programme at NASA in preparation for the mission.

Mogensen said he is anxious to get into space.

"It's one thing to sit in a simulator, where you can always push the reset button if something goes wrong," he said at today's press conference. "It's something else entirely to be in a real spaceship. The closest I've come is sitting in an aeroplane."