In brief

Coverage of ESA astronaut Matthias’s Maurer’s journey to the International Space Station continues, with docking scheduled for 00:10 GMT/ 01:10 CET Friday, 12 November and streaming live on ESA Web TV 2.


Matthias and his NASA astronaut crew mates Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron were launched in SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft called Endurance at 02:03 GMT/03:03 CET Thursday 11 November.

They will travel around 22 hours before docking to the Station, where they will conduct leak and pressurisation checks before opening the hatch at 01:45 GMT/02:45 CET Friday 12 November and a welcoming ceremony planned for 02:20 GMT/03:20 CET.

Watch the action live on ESA Web TV channel two.


Upon arrival at the Station, Crew-3 will be greeted by NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, who are already on board, as members of Expedition 66.

Anton is the current commander of the International Space Station. He took over the role from ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet on 6 November, prior to Thomas’s return to Earth with Crew-2.

Cosmic Kiss is the first space mission for Matthias, who graduated as an ESA astronaut in 2018. Matthias will spend approximately six months supporting science and operations aboard the orbital outpost and is expected to perform a Russian spacewalk in support of the European Robotic Arm (ERA) activation, having certified in both the Russian Orlan and American Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuits.

Timeline for docking and welcome

00:10 GMT/01:10 CETFriday 12 NovemberEndurance capsule docks to International Space Station
01:45 GMT/02:45 CETFriday 12 NovemberHatch opening
02:20 GMT/03:20 CETFriday 12 NovemberOnboard welcoming ceremony
  1. Spotlight on science

With a background in materials science Matthias is looking forward to supporting over 35 European and many more international experiments in orbit. These include investigations in human research, biology, materials science, fluid physics, environmental science and radiation, and technology. A few highlights are:

  • Retinal Diagnostics, which uses a commercially available ophthalmology lens, adapted for use with a tablet in space, to capture images of astronauts’ retinas. Images and videos collected will be used to test and train artificial intelligence (AI) models that could automatically detect retinal changes in astronauts in the future and provide the ability to support patients and clinicians on Earth in remote or developing regions.
  • Biofilms, which aims to determine which metal surface has the best anti-microbial properties on ground, in orbit or on Mars. Run in the Kubik facility – a temperature-controlled incubator for studying biological samples in Europe’s Columbus module – it will test the growth of bacteria such as human skin-associated bacteria Staphylococcus capitisunder microgravity conditions.
  • EasyMotion, which will see Matthias test a specialised electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) suit while exercising to determine its effect in mitigating muscle and bone loss in microgravity.

For more information on science and operations Matthias will carry out in space, view the Cosmic Kiss mission brochure in English or German. Regular updates will also be provided on the ESA Cosmic Kiss mission page, ESA Exploration blog and Matthias’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels.

You can also shop the official Cosmic Kiss collection online at the ESA Space Shop and get in the space spirit with the official Cosmic Kiss mission playlist on Spotify.

  • ESA also photos