It will be impossible for Maislinger, and any other potential candidates, to visit Moscow, until normal travel resumes. "They have experience of sending people into Space.". However, they didn’t need to worry, as, perhaps surprisingly, she was eliminated at the next stage. The first clue, outside Maislinger’s own claims emerged in late 2017, when rumours about “an Austrian woman”, who was trying to secure a Soyuz seat, began to circulating freely among Swiss and German players in the space launch, and space tourism, businesses.
Her career choices; Aviation, Engineering, Medicine, were carefully chosen to, at some point, make her a strong ESA astronaut candidate. She began to ask people outside her ‘inner circle’ for help and advice, including me.
Otherwise, no names of prospective clients have emerged, either officially, or informally. But with no other candidates in the ESA pipeline, it will require a private initiative, to provide the next name for that list. The main centres of training and preparation are closed to outsiders.
My efforts to elicit clarification from Space Adventures about their relationship with Maislinger have met with mixed results. Among the most prominent were pop singer Lance Bass and former NASA official Lori Garver. After almost twenty years, they remain the only organisation to have arranged spaceflights for private individuals. official spokesperson, Stacey Tearne, would only repeat earlier comments. However, her deadline passed with no announcement, with Maislinger claiming that matters were delayed, as her German citizenship was still not finalised. However, they didn’t need to worry, as, perhaps surprisingly, she was eliminated at the next stage. The same source claimed that Maislinger was Space Adventure's leading client. It was, and one was duly supplied. English classical singer, Sarah Brightman, almost flew as a SFP, in 2015, a rare flight opportunity created by the ‘Year in Space’ mission of NASA's Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. With Red Bull being based in Salzburg, close to Maislinger’s home town of Bad Goisern, and her background in extreme sports, she would be a natural person to attract Red Bull’s interest, and a spaceflight might appeal to their sponsorship profile. In April 2020, out of the blue, an Austrian media source, that has also been tracking the Maislinger story, claimed that she had already visited both Moscow and the Baikonur cosmodrome. , When the project was first established, they planned for the first flight of a female German astronaut to occur by 2020, although has been pushed back to mid-2021.
In April 2020, out of the blue, an Austrian media source, that has also been tracking the Maislinger story, claimed that she had already visited both Moscow and the Baikonur cosmodrome. At the time, this was not wholly unexpected, as rumours of such a resumption had been circulating since 2017. In the days before her deadline, she used social media to send a message indicating. So, two years after she set out her stall, what more do we know about Johanna Maislinger, and her plans? It was, and one was duly supplied. Back in 2017, her plan was high on hype, and low on detail.
In April 2018, the organisation announced that Baumann had pulled out of training with the project, her replacement was Dr. Suzanna Randall, who was one of the original six finalists. The potential major sponsor who Maislinger indicated was prepared to inject €5 million into ‘Die Astronautin’, before switching their interest to her project, was identified, by multiple sources, as the giant German industrial conglomerate, Siemens, or more specifically, their healthcare division, Siemens Healthineers. However, the last such flight was in 2009, and they must now be very keen to resume such missions. As improbable as this scenario might have seemed, she expanded her story over the following few months talking about meetings with her sponsors, the Space Launch Provider, and ‘really strong’ media partners. She then disappeared from the public eye, closing down her entire Social Media presence, in the process. For example, Space Adventures will be unlikely to contract with one client, unless the second one is ready to sign too. But, no matter how disappointed she was not to make the final cut in 'Die Astronautin', to make up the story she had shared so freely, if it had no substance, is equally unlikely. The key, of course, to the whole scenario are Space Adventures. Soyuz MS-20 will be a dedicated flight, with two seats available for sale to clients, and only the centre seat will be occupied by a professional cosmonaut, who will fly and dock the spacecraft, and presumably receive payment, for his efforts. In 2019, Roscosmos said that they would prefer candidates to be confirmed, by June 2020. With two seats available, the financial arrangements for the Soyuz MS-20 flight will be even more complex. At the time, she was 31, an engineer, and airline pilot for ten years, flying Boeing 777’s as a Senior First Officer. These could be traced back to, the Austrian-based TV channel, Red Bull TV, who were actually mentioning her name, in connection with a project they were developing. As improbable as this scenario might have seemed, she expanded her story over the following few months talking about meetings with her sponsors, the Space Launch Provider, and ‘really strong’ media partners.
She claimed this was due to her being Austrian, and unable to acquire German citizenship quickly enough. It seems unlikely that Space Adventures will have the resources to risk pay around US$75 million.
I’ve spoken to Siemens, many times. She is a smart, ambitious and adventurous woman, and who would be unlikely to be taken in by false promises, or to set out such scenario and timeline, knowing it to be untrue. The only would-be candidate to openly emerge, so far, is a 34-year-old Austrian airline pilot, Johanna Maislinger, who revealed her plan to fly into space, on a privately sponsored Soyuz mission, in 2017. In recent months, she has re-established a presence on Facebook and Instagram, although hidden, at least for now, behind a privacy wall.
Our paths crossed, in October 2016, when Johanna Maislinger was a candidate in the German project, ‘Die Astronautin’ which hoped to find the first German Woman Astronaut. Red Bull TV would certainly represent the “strong media partner” which Maislinger had spoken openly about, having a long track record of supporting extreme, and high-octane, sports, with substantial sponsorship deals, including Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the stratosphere in 2012. So, it seems that, however unlikely it may seem, to observers, Space Adventures must believe she has a realistic chance of raising the required financial support.
At that time, no space tourists had flown to the ISS, since 2009, although there was a possible flight opportunity, emerging in 2018. The plans even reveal, that the Soyuz will dock to the port attached to the Russian 'Zarya' module. "The longing to go into space has always been there, it’s not so much a childhood dream, but a dream I was born with. Maislinger was one of 400 hopefuls, who registered to take part, even though she didn’t actually meet the initial eligibility criteria, being Austrian, rather than German. This could still be an issue for any European, or American, client in 2020/1. The potential major sponsor who Maislinger indicated was prepared to inject €5 million into ‘Die Astronautin’, before switching their interest to her project, was identified, by multiple sources, as the giant German industrial conglomerate, Siemens, or more specifically, their healthcare division, Siemens Healthineers. Despite the announcement that Soyuz MS-20 will be adapted to be flown solely by the cosmonaut commander, the prospect of having an experienced pilot in the Flight Engineer's seat, may be an appealing prospect, for all concerned. However, Johne backed away quickly, after that initial response, and refused to say any more.
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