The European Space Agency astronaut traveled to the ISS in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule along with his Crew-3 colleagues Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron in November 2021.
It was Maurer’s first space trip, so there was a lot to be excited about as he experienced life in microgravity for the first time.
When asked about his personal highlights of the mission, Maurer spoke of the journey to orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, facing Earth, and the spacewalk, describing the experience as “like entering a new world.” ».
During the six-month ISS Expedition 66, which ran from October to March, Maurer said he and his crewmates took a staggering 120,000 photos. With so many photos, the astronaut’s friends and family must be dreading the moment he offers to show them his “vacation” photos, though he added that he hopes to put together a “best of” collection.
Maurer also described the “spectacular” return home when the Crew Dragon it was headed for a landing off the coast of Florida in May 2022.
“Riding through the plasma, I saw all the colorful light outside the capsule, and then the Gs built up…the parachutes came out and it did a lot of flipping,” Maurer said.
“That was the moment that worried me the most: how would I react to all this spinning when the parachutes came out? Would he be dizzy, motion sick, would he be throwing up afterwards? — But he was very happy that when we fell into the sea everything was fine and I felt good, there was a lot of euphoria ».
Commenting on life on Earth, Maurer said that although he felt the weight of gravity on his head and neck after returning, he also appreciates the more familiar conditions, as it means “my food stays on my plate.”
The astronaut also talked about how the trip changed him, the value of doing scientific work on the ISS and what, if anything, he will do differently if he gets another chance to head into space.