Ernst Messerschmid

Ernst Messerschmid

Ernst Messerschmid https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/04070856/ERNST-MESSERSCHMID_thumb.jpg 480 270 Asteroid Day Asteroid Day https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/04070856/ERNST-MESSERSCHMID_thumb.jpg

Asteroid Day Affiliation:   

Reutlingen, Germany, 21 May 1945

Married to Gudrun M.

Ernst Messerschmid graduated from the Technisches Gymnasium, Stuttgart, Germany in 1965. He studied physics at the University of Tübingen and Bonn in 1967 to 1972. After graduating, Ernst worked as a CERN Fellow (1972-1975) and as a research assistant at the University of Freiburg/Breisgau where he received his Doctor’s degree (1976). His doctoral thesis was on “Longitudinal Instabilities of Relativistic Proton Beams in Synchrotrons”.

Recreational interests
Music, sailing, and outdoor activities such as golf, gardening

As a result of his time at CERN (visiting scientist, 1970; Fellow, 1972-1975), in 1977, Ernst worked as a researcher at DESY, Hamburg, when he became interested in space technology and utilisation, and participated as a German astronaut candidate in the first ESA astronaut selection campaign. Following this, in 1978, he joined the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen, where he worked in the area of satellite-based search and rescue communication systems.

In 1983, Ernst was selected as a science astronaut based at DLR in Cologne, Germany. After science training conducted at different universities and industrial laboratories, and after his flight training at ESA and NASA, he was assigned as a crewmember of the German Spacelab Mission D1 in 1985.

From November 1986, Ernst has been Professor and Director of the Space Systems Institute (IRS) at the University of Stuttgart. He held various high ranking positions as Chairman of a Collaborative Research Center and was responsible for a variety of research activities at University institutes, industry and DLR laboratories.

At Stuttgart University, Ernst was Dean of the Aerospace faculty from 1990 to 1992 and Vice-President (Provost) from 1996 to 1998.

From 2000 to 2004 Ernst was Head of the European Astronaut Centre (EAC), in Cologne, Germany.

Ernst Messerschmid has now left ESA and returned to his Professorship in Astronautics and Space Stations at the Institute of Space Systems University of Stuttgart.


30 October 1985: German Spacelab Mission D1 (7-day spaceflight STS-61A with Challenger). Experiments in fluid physics, material science, biology, medicine and navigation.
1988 – 1992: Teaching of German (D2, MIR’92 Mission) and ESA astronauts on Space Systems Engineering, Chairman of Selection Committee for German astronauts.
Since 1990: Teaching at Ecole Nationale Superieure de l’Aeronautique et de l’Espace, Toulouse and the International Space University ISU Strasbourg on Space Stations and Platforms.
1989 – 1999: Chairman of Collaborative Research Center (SFB 259) on High Temperature Problems of Re-usable Space Transportation Systems, Stuttgart, including 12 institutes from universities, DLR and industry.
1990 – 1992: Dean of Aerospace Faculty, University of Stuttgart; Deputy in the preceeding and following year.
1994 – 1996: Chairman of Space Segment Advisory Group (SSAG) for ESA Telecommunications Directorate
1994 – 2000: Member of ESA Space Station Utilization Panel (SSUP)
1995 – 1997: Chairman of DARA (German Space Agency) Advisory Group for Utilisation of the International Space Station, member of DARA advisory panels on Space Transportation Systems, Space Telecommunications and Navigation Systems
1996 – 1998: Vice-President Stuttgart University, in particular responsible for Research and Technology
1998 – 2000: CEO of Technology Transfer Initiative GmbH of University of Stuttgart
2000 – 2004: Head of the European Astronaut Centre (EAC), in Cologne, Germany.

Dutch Royal Academy of Science (since 1985), German Aerospace Society DGLR (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrt) Corresponding Member (1986), DGLR Board of Directors (1989-94), Member International Academy of Astronautics IAA (1989), Member Association of Space Explorers (ASE; since 1986), ASE Executive Committee (1989-92), German Space Agency DARA (Deutsche Agentur für Raumfahrtangelegenheiten) Advisory Board (1990-94), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics AIAA, Affiliate Member (1994).

Around 140 publications most of them published in journals and conference proceedings. Ernst holds ten patents and has authored and co-authored 10 books such as “Space Stations – Systems and Utilization” (Springer Publisher, March 1999).

Special honours
Science Award of Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft in Freiburg im Breisgau (1976), NASA Space Flight Medal (1985), NASA Flight Achievement Award (1986), German Cross of Merit First Class (1985), Medal of Merit of Federal State Baden-Württemberg (1986), Golden Hermann Oberth Medal (1986), Reinhard-Furrer-Award of DARA (1997), Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (2001).