peoplepill id: sigmund-jaehn
1 views today
2 views this week
Sigmund Jähn
East German cosmonaut

Sigmund Jähn

Sigmund Jähn
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro East German cosmonaut
Is Pilot Aviator Astronaut Fighter pilot Printer
From Germany Germany
Type Business Military Science
Gender male
Birth 13 February 1937, Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz
Age 85 years
Residence Strausberg
Sigmund Jähn
The details (from wikipedia)


Sigmund Werner Paul Jähn (born 13 February 1937) is a German cosmonaut and pilot, who in 1978 became the first German to fly in space as part of the Soviet Union's Interkosmos programme.


Jähn was born on 13 February 1937 in Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz, in the Vogtland district of Saxony, Germany. From 1943 to 1951 he attended school in his hometown. He trained as a printer until 1954 and then managed the pioneer program in a local school.

On 26 April 1955 he joined the East German Air Force, where he became a pilot. From 1961 to 1963 he was deputy commander for political work and from in 1965 became responsible for air tactics and air shooting. From 1966 to 1970 he studied at the Gagarin Air Force Academy in Monino, in the Soviet Union. From 1970 to 1976, he worked in the administration of the East German air force, responsible for pilot education and flight safety.

Sigmund Jähn's national space patch from the airforce of the National People's Army

On 25 November 1976, Jähn and his backup Eberhard Köllner were selected for the Interkosmos program. After a brief period of basic training, they devoted a year to mission specific training. He trained in Star City near Moscow. He flew on board Soyuz 31, launched 26 August 1978 to the Soviet space station Salyut 6, where he conducted experiments in remote sensing of the earth, medicine, biology, materials science, and geophysics. After 124 orbits he returned on Soyuz 29 and landed on 3 September 1978, having spent 7 days, 20 hours, and 49 minutes in space. Because the Soviet and American space programs maintain distinctive vocabularies, he was a cosmonaut rather than an astronaut.

During and after the flight, he and the socialist authorities of the GDR acclaimed him as "the first German in space", emphasizing an East German victory over West Germany.

Upon his return he headed the East Germany Army's Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow until German unification in 1990, when he left the East German military with the rank of major general. Jähn was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union on 3 September 1978. In 1983 he received a doctorate at the Zentralinstitut für Physik der Erde (de) in Potsdam, specialising in remote sensing of the earth. He was instrumental in forming the Association of Space Explorers. He was a founding member in 1985 and served for several years on its Executive Committee.

Starting in 1990, he worked as a freelance consultant for the German Aerospace Center and from 1993 also for the European Space Agency (ESA) to prepare for the Euromir missions. He retired in 2002.

Sigmund Jähn, 2009

In 2011, on the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight by Yuri Gagarin, he explained to Der Spiegel that his taking a toy figure on his flight was not a personal choice. He took a Sandmännchen, a animated character featured on an East German children's television show, in order to film material for the show. Because he and fellow cosmonaut Vladimir Kovalyonok joked about Sandmännchen marrying another toy figure of the Russia mascot Masha, authorities found the material unsuitable for the public.

Jähn is married and has two children. He lives in Strausberg and he enjoys reading and hunting.

Awards and recognition

  • Held der DDR.png Hero of the GDR
  • Hero of the USSR.png Hero of the Soviet Union
  • GDR Marks-order bar.png Order of Karl Marx
  • Order of Lenin Ribbon Bar.svg Order of Lenin
  • Medal For Merit in an Space Exploration (Russia 2010) ribbon.svg Space Exploration Medal
  • Meritorious Military Pilot of the German Democratic Republic
  • Asteroid 17737 was named "Sigmundjähn" in 2001.
  • In 2011, he was made an honorary member of the Leibniz Society of Berlin.


  • "Dear TV viewers in the German Democratic Republic. I am very happy for the chance to be the first German to take part in this manned space flight." (during his space flight)
  • "Mankind is advanced technically. Man can build space stations, can assemble them in space, and ponders about landing on Mars, but the development of mankind itself seems to stagnate on stone age level." (Radio broadcast in the 1990s)
  • "…what I saw then was total happiness: Our Earth, in shining in bright blue. Just like a dream." (SUPERillu magazine interview, 1998)
  • "As a pilot I just could not resist the offer to fly a space capsule…" (speech in front of DLR audience, 2005)

Cultural influence

  • A taxi driver greatly resembling Jähn (played by Swiss actor Stefan Walz) appears in the German film Good Bye, Lenin!.
  • German pop group Die Prinzen, from the same region of Germany, recorded a song entitled "Wer ist Sigmund Jähn?" ("Who is Sigmund Jähn?") on their 1999 album So viel Spaß für wenig Geld.


  • Sigmund Jähn: Erlebnis Weltraum, Militärverlag der DDR, Berlin 1985.
  • Horst Hoffmann: Sigmund Jähn. Der fliegende Vogtländer. Das Neue Berlin, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-360-00848-0, (biography).
  • Horst Hoffmann: Die Deutschen im Weltraum. Zur Geschichte der Kosmosforschung und Raumfahrt in der DDR. Vorwort von Sigmund Jähn, Edition Ost, 1998, ISBN 3-932180-49-6.
  • Horst Hoffmann: Sigmund Jähn. Rückblick ins All: Die Biografie des ersten deutschen Kosmonauten. Das Neue Berlin, 2. Auflage, Berlin 2008, ISBN 3-360-01947-4.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
comments so far.
From our partners
arrow-left arrow-right instagram whatsapp myspace quora soundcloud spotify tumblr vk website youtube pandora tunein iheart itunes