ESA astronaut Marcus Wandt returns from his first space mission

ESA Swedish project astronaut Marcus Wandt and the Axiom 3 crew returned to Earth today, marking the end of his Muninn mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft undocked autonomously from the Space Station on 7 February 2024 at 15:20 CET. After completing a series of deorbit burns, the spacecraft entered Earth’s atmosphere and deployed its parachutes for a water-landing off the coast of Florida on 9 February at 14:30 CET.

The Axiom-3 crew was launched on 18 January 2024 and spent 18 days on board the Space Station (20 days in space). Marcus was welcomed aboard by fellow ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, who is currently commander of the Station.

"During his nearly three weeks/his time on the Space Station, Marcus carried out a series of experiments for the benefit of Swedish and international research. Through his spaceflight, he contributed to maintain Sweden as a leading nation in space knowledge. He is also a source of inspiration for a whole generation of Swedes in natural sciences," says Anna Rathsman, Director General of the Swedish National Space Agency, on Marcus’s return.

"Sweden’s swift and robust decision-making is at the heart of Muninn mission success. Marcus’s fast-track mission as an ESA project astronaut showed that through ESA, Europe can be agile and flexible and ready to join a changing human-spaceflight landscape," added ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher.

"This mission of firsts diversified our access to space, accelerated important science and research, and helped gain experience with new partners. The Muninn mission has better prepared ESA and Europe for a post-ISS future," says Josef Aschbacher.

As part of his Muninn mission, Marcus supported numerous European experiments and many more international experiments in microgravity. He will now fly directly to Cologne, Germany, where he will be monitored by ESA’s space medicine team as he readapts to Earth’s gravity at ESA’s European Astronaut Centre (EAC) and the German Aerospace Centre’s (DLR) ’:envihab’ facility.

It is currently foreseen that Marcus will arrive in Cologne at 08:30 CET, 10 February.

A limited number of media may attend the return of Marcus at the airport, and there may be a short Q&A with Marcus when he disembarks from the aeroplane.

The arrival of Marcus and the Q&A on the tarmac will be recorded by ESA and made available on ESA channels as soon as possible.
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